05 October 2009

A kriek for all seasons

Having bought the Liefmans Kriek in Brussels last winter, intending to save it for some balmy summer afternoon, I finally admitted defeat. After the third crappy summer in a row, a cold wet autumn evening was deemed a sufficiently special occasion to unwrap the paper and pop the cork.

I first discovered this beer about five years ago in Amsterdam's Café Belgique and was very impressed from the get-go. I have catholic tastes in kriek and will happily chug the light sugary ones, like Timmerman's, but also enjoy taking some time over the sharper, more cerebral craft krieks like Cantillon Lou Pepe. Liefmans occupies a wonderful space right between the two varieties.

The base beer is unambiguously sour, but the cherries add a lip-smacking sweet fruitiness which dominates the flavour yet avoids tipping over into cloying syrupy yuck. The natural carbonation is soft, making it a very drinkable beer, and one which is highly refreshing when served cold; but there's also a satisfying warmth to it, derived from the hefty 6% ABV.

Whatever you're looking for in a kriek, this one can substitute nicely.


  1. Leifmans was the first Kriek beer I ever had, in 2000 in the Porterhouse (I remember as it was my leaving session from my old job), along with their Goudenband (complete with big chunks of yeast) and Framboise. The whole party ended up drinking it late into the night, and there were a lot of surprised faces. I haven't had it in ages. Thanks for reminding me of it :)

  2. Yeah, it's one of those very familiar beers that I bought, and drank, without realising I had no blog entry on it. Now I have a record for when the Alzheimer's sets in.

  3. I serve this every time I made double chocolate tart for desert at dinner parties. People are always surprised by it.

  4. Anonymous10:12 a.m.

    I had the same problem with their Goudenband - bought it in the summer intending to keep it a while. Drank it last week with much pleasure as a result.

  5. I think it's my favourite, overall. Just the right mix of sweet, sour and fruity.