Lips of Faith beers by New Belgium Brewing Company are special releases that are available around St. Valentine’s day. They describe these beers as “funky” and “fruitful” and Dark Kriek is no exception. It is a big sour cherry ale with lot’s of complexity and flavor. New Belgium describes the Lips of Faith releases as follows:
For many years we’ve celebrated Valentine’s Day at New Belgium Brewing by creating a special small batch beer for our family and friends. These beers tend to be a little funky, fruitful and straight from the heart. This year we decided to share the love.
On the same page, they describe Dark Kriek as follows:
New Belgium Brewing’s Dark Kriek is a limited edition Belgian kriek or cherry beer. Much darker than a traditional kriek with a dash of sour cherry up front, our Dark Kriek is actually a blend of two beers. We start with a light, dry, tannic beer aged two years in oak barrels and combine this with a heavier, dark ale and cherries to create one smooth cherry blast of love.
Although I enjoyed this beer, especially after it warmed up to probably about 50ºF, it is not for the casual beer drinker and it is not a sweet and sour lambic like Lindemans’ lambics.
Serving Type. I poured from the bottle into a glass.
Appearance. Dark Kreik has a frothy head that lasts a long time. The head has an eggnog-like color with a touch of pink from the cherries. The beer has a dark amber-red color that reminds me of redwood or mahogany. Although very dark, this beer is crystal clear.
Smell. The aroma has a a dark, roasty malt quality like that of a barley wine. It is, however, just a touch yeasty smelling. The bouquet has a rich fruit sourness like that of dark cherry and cassis. This sour bouquet is the prevalent smell in the beer especially as the beer warms up to an appropriate drinking temperature.
Taste. When consumed too cold, Lips of Faith Dark Kreik tastes sour and the other interesting flavors are subdued. After this beer warms up a bit, the flavors are much more pronounced. This beer is sour like a sour lambic ale but unlike other lambic ales like Lindemans’ kriek, this beer is not fruity sweet. Instead, it has a roasted malt sweetness that is more like the molasses sweetness that you might find in a barley wine. The fruit flavor is not lost in the sourness but is enhanced by the other flavors to create a nice dark cherry flavor.
Mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is what I like least about this beer. It was thick and syrupy with some chalkiness probably caused by tanins.
Drinkability. Dark Kreik is a interesting, complex, and tasty beer to try. It is a strong beer with unique flavors and sourness but is not a session beer. A 22 oz. bottle of this beer is perfect to share with somebody else. With that said, I would pick up this beer again, if it were available.
- Appearance (20%): 4.0
- Smell (20%): 4.0
- Taste (40%): 4.0
- Mouthfeel (10%): 2.5
- Drinkability (10%): 3.0
- Overall: 3.75
- Style: Belgian kriek, fruit beer
- Brewery: New Belgium
- Alcohol by volume: 8%
- Other ingredients: cherries
- Beer Advocate rating: 3.6 (as of May 29, 2009)
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