May 1, 2013

New Belgium Transatlantique Kriek

I’m a huge fan of what New Belgium Brewing does with their Lips of Faith series. Some of the things that have come out of that line of beers have been absolutely amazing. Others haven’t been nearly as good, but all have always been intriguing and pushing the envelope of what a brewery can do with a few ingredients. The latest release in a series known for experimentation is the rather straightforward and more traditional Transatlantique Kriek, an 8% ABV collaboration with Brewerij Boon of Belgium — though it sounds as most of the brewing and aging took place a the Boon facilities while New Belgium handled the blending.

Now, I’ve had Boon Kriek in the past and found it much too sweet for my own personal liking so I was a bit concerned upon pulling this one out of the fridge. Thankfully, it’s not in the least bit sweet. The blend on this beer (Boon’s two year, oak-aged brew along with New Belgiums lager) is spot on, offering a light tartness and appropriate fruit character. The beer is probably the most approachable lambic I’ve had.


Transatlantique Kriek pours like cherry colored Koolaid with a relatively short-lived pink head of foam that fell to a thin collar.


It may look like a kids’ fruit drink, but one whiff let’s you know immediately that it is not. Tart cherries and a touch of sourness mingle with light grains for a nose that is rather subdued.


Well, the beer isn’t nearly as tart as I had hoped for, but at least it’s also not nearly as sweet as Boon’s take on the style. There’s a tartness that does grab the tongue, but not in an aggressive fashion. A solid cherry flavor is present, but is not overly fruit-juicy. The sourness lingers for a good long while in the lasting and very dry finish. The carbonation is initially lively and prickly, but softens smoothly as the beer progresses over the tongue.


I mentioned in the intro that this may be the most approachable lambic I’ve encountered. This beer would make for a great introduction to the style for someone who’s not quite ready to tackle something from the likes of Cantillon. It’s got a decent tartness, but isn’t too strong as to scare off would-be fans of the style. It’s blended well and balanced between a moderate sweetness and lingering sour character. I’d be up for purchasing another bottle or two of this one to set aside for a while.

Rating: 4/5

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