Boon Mariage Parfait Kriek – #7point5

You may remember a post I wrote some time ago about Boon Mariage Parfait, it was a beer I really liked from a stye that I sometimes struggle with.

Anyways some time after that, my good friend Mart Ridgeway,  ( aka 6TownsMart ) kindly brought me the Kriek version back from one of his many ventures into Belgium.

At the time Mart mentioned it was “a bit special” and quite rare, but I hadn’t quite recognised just how special it really was, only being brewed in small batches every two years.

I popped it in the fridge before stumbling across the review below which includes the following quote:

“Exceptional indeed. It has a drink-by date of 2030, and I’m wondering if I should have put it down in the cellar for a few years first…” Andrew Stroehlein – 40 Beers at 40.

Unfortunately for me I’d already severely chilled mine before I’d read that or I too would have put mine aside for a a year or twenty.. Freakily, the only other person to comment on Andrews blog post was…

So anyways on a Sunday afternoon a couple of weekends back, whilst enjoying the last remnants of the extremely late British Indian Summer I cracked it open at last.

The beer poured a deep claret red with an initial lively pink head that soon died away to nothing. From the glass comes an amazing aroma of sour cherry and what I’d describe as a sort of rich Christmas spiciness.

As you take a first sip the taste is sharp but not screamingly so as with even some of the more fruitier lambics. Then as you swill it around the mouth to release the hidden character the flavours develop further, there is still some sourness, but it is balanced by a big old sweet hit of cherry pie fruit, there is a sherbet note too with a subtle but earthy oak backbone.

Quite fizzy on the tongue which probably accounts for the sherbet feel, but the finish is warm with alcohol and refreshingly dry. Very more-ish indeed..

It’s just the perfect beer for a hot afternoon and one that you could just keep going back to again and again as there is nothing sickly here at all, nor is it too lambicly acidic. Sadly due to it’s rarity not many of us are ever going to get that chance, but if you do come across any BUY SOME, it’s the law!

P.S Please get me a couple of bottles too… 😉

Cheers

#7point5, what’s that all about?

Delirium Red – Brewerij Huyghe – 8.5%

“Delirium” – “An acutely disturbed state of mind that occurs in fever, intoxication, and other disorders and is characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence of thought and speech”.

I’m a big fan of Delirium beers, the Tremens in particular and my all time top drinking establishment has to be the record breaking Delirium Cafe in Brussels which has over 2000 beers available at any one time. I love the iconic branding and the story behind it, the stoney white bottles and pink elephants, all of which can be found detailed on the ever so slightly zany delirium.be website.

Try it and watch the slightly mad brewery owner welcome you, discuss his beers, then get ever so slightly bored if you don’t choose anything, it is very clever.

Delirium Red is a new brew from Brouwerij Huyghe for 2011, when I ordered it I knew nothing about it other than the Delirium reputation but had to try it.

I have to confess to thinking it was going to be a ruby or brown beer rather than a Kriek, externally the bottle gives nothing away. It’s the traditional Delirium stone white bottle with a bright red foil top, the label describing the contents simply as STRONG BEER 8.5%.

A kriek it is though pouring a deep dense red with a pink frothy head. Aroma is of kirsch cherry fruit with a little malt.

Taste is sweet, a big full mouthful dominated by the rich alcoholic cherry fruit, it reminded me a little of a cherry brandy liqueur, despite that it is still refreshing and more-ish.

Verdict, another class act to join the pink elephant herd. Maybe a little sweet for some, if so try it as a desert..

Brewerij Huyghe Tasting notes

Delirium Facebook

Delirium YouTube

Beer was sourced from Beer Merchants, but it is available from many other online and high street specialist beer retailers.

De Ranke Kriek – 7%

We opened this last night to mark the occasion of the 40th beer found in the challenge to find and taste as many beers from the 100 or so listed in this book, only a quick update this to note it’s passing.

I personally don’t drink a lot of fruit beers (regularly at least), but I did really enjoy this one and would recommend it to anyone who likes Belgian fruit beers, but can’t quite manage a full on Lambic. It is a little vinegrous but not lip pursingly so, it gives you a lovely sour cherry flavour with bright berry aromas. Bottled and delivered in the same style of their similarly “gift wrapped” XX Bitter which just adds to the experience in my opinion.

Sourced from Beers Of Europe, who’s tasting notes are below:

Tasting Notes: Kriek de Rank is real Belgian sour ale fermented with cherries and then blended with real lambic. It is unfiltered and unpasterized. The de Rank brewery was founded by two good friends; Nino Bacelle & Guido Devose. To them, brewing is a weekend hobby, not an occupation. For a few hours every week they make small batches of what many consider the best specialty beers. Their beers are robust and flavorful. They use the best Hallertau and brewer’s Gold varieties of hops.

Malheur 12 – 12%

I also wanted to mention this beer from Malheur, it’s another beer I’ve been led to whilst searching for beers listed in the “100 Belgian beers”, I was looking for the Malheur Dark Brut Noir which is a champagne beer, but thought I’d give this a go. Good choice it’s a lovely strong dark ale and one that will be revisited and given a full review at a later date. Lovers of these type of ales you really should give this a try, don’t let the 12% abv put you off, it’s very very good..

A little piece of Belgium in the Peak District

I organised something this weekend that I’d been meaning to do for for a couple of years which was to visit the Belgian bar “Den Engel” in nearby Leek. God only knows why it’s taken that long it isn’t THAT far (Leek is around 10 miles away), I think it just seems it, as it’s a bit of a rural route and I’ve always thought too costly for a cab. Anyways turns out I was wrong and an 8 seater working out at about £22 from Stoke. Needless to say we’d been depriving ourselves unnecessarily for far too long…

Even from the outside Den Engel already has a bit of a Belgian feel, quite old styling with a big glass frontage that lets you see how the place is laid out and what’s on offer. Once inside they have a three page menu featuring the 100 plus beers available both in bottle and on the changing bank of brews on tap, from memory they were on the night, St Feuillien Dubbel & Tripel, Mc Chouffe, De Koninck, Floreffe Bruin, a Kriek of some description and Den Engel Lager (or Pilsner, can’t remember which). They also have a selection of flavoured Jenevers and a small food menu featuring Belgian style dishes often with a beer influence, these are served in a room upstairs.

The staff were friendly and knowledgable and the place itself had a great atmosphere, it was busy and had that “good night” buzz about the place, but without the rowdy element probably put off because they don’t sell Carling etc.. Be warned it is pricey, but it’s not your run of the mill bar and you get what you pay for which is a great selection of good quality beers, well kept and served.

The bar itself is split into two rooms, with a large central bar area dominating the space (there is a table service available), not sure if the room upstairs had a separate bar but if not service applies. Now I wouldn’t normally mention toilet facilities apart from the fact that in this instance you get a quick look at the cellar through a window on route which is a nice touch and shows the confidence that the landlord is happy with what goes on downstairs….

So what of the beers themselves, well I have to be honest in saying that they are a bit of a blur now a few days have passed, I remember starting on a Mc Chouffe which is a delicious Scotch style ale, a St Feuillien Dubbel, Rochefort 10, De Koninck Amber, Westmalle Dubbel and many many more…

To finish the evening off suitably, I opted for a grand finale in the form of a large bottle of “Val-Dieu Grand Cru” which was shared with fellow Belgian beer loving pal Lee Farrington, landlord of “The Greyhound” pub in Newcastle- U-Lyme and was one of the many stars of the recent SIBA video. The Val-Dieu was the star beer of the night for me and although expensive at over £10 for a 750ml bottle, it capped a fabulous evening off with suitable grandeur. It is a Belgian Abbey Quadrupel ale which is dark, rich and spicy, it has tastes of lovely roasted malts with chocolate and port, but it’s how it delivers the flavours to you that sets it apart from the rest. It’s just so smooooooth….

All in all a cracking evening and one that will be repeated again and again now we realise how accessible the place is. For reference the address and contact details are:  Address: 11 Stanley St, Leek, ST13 5HG Telephone: 01538 373 751

‘Op uw gezondheid’ or as they say in French ‘A votre sante’