Up the Kriek

by Jim Lundstrom

Having one of those blah days where I needed a powerful pick-me-up to lift me from the ordinary, I saw it immediately looking down at me from the top shelf – Lindemans Kriek (Cherry) Lambic. Yes, let some tart, bright cherry crispness enter my world.

The cherry flavor is intense and amazing. I don’t want it to go away, so I take another sip and suddenly the bottle is half empty and I wish I had bought two bottles. Or a case. Or the entire world’s supply!

So I slow down. I pour it from high into a small glass in order to get a nice tower of pink foam, not quite the kind of pink the Cat in the Hat spreads in the Dr. Seuss sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. A rose pink. A pleasant pink. Pink rings of Belgian lace cover the top third of the glass.

This is liquid candy. It resonates on the palate, buzzes on my tongue with big red flavor.

The Lindeman family has been making lambics commercially in the town of Vlezenbeek, southwest of Brussels, since 1822. Lambics are spontaneously fermented beers – meaning the brewers add no yeast but let naturally occurring microflora from the farming country of the Senne Valley “infect” their beers.

After the wort is boiled, the beer is allowed to cool in a large, shallow, open-air container. That’s where the wild yeasties jump in. The lambic is then transferred to either an oak cask or a steel one with oak chips added for two years of maturing.

The brewery also makes fruit lambic as framboise (raspberry), pomme (apple), peche (peach), strawberry and cassis (black currant). I’ve not tried them all but would love to do a tasting of nothing but fruit lambics sometime.

Since fruit lambics seem to lift the spirits, I would highly recommend a bottle of Lindemans when you need a boost.