St Austell Brewery to launch Belgian-style kriek beer with Cornish cherries
St Austell Brewery has teamed up with Bohetherick Farm in the Tamar Valley in Cornwall to create a limited-edition beer with a difference – a Belgian-style kriek beer.
You know these beers, small bottles, high alcohol content, flavoured with fruit, usually cherries or raspberries.
They are beers brewed in the “lambic” tradition, using wild yeasts, and flavoured through a refermentation with fruits rather than hops.
In this case it’s the cherries from the fertile fruit orchards of the Tamar. Bohetherick Farm, run by Jessica Jeans and her husband Will, has an orchard with more than 50 Burcombe cherry trees, some of which are more than 125 years old.
Roger Ryman, the head Brewer at St Austell, said: “This is the latest in our programme of experimental beers with small batch production runs that are really about having a bit of fun and pushing the boundaries.
“The natural fermentation process required for a kriek beer does bring with it a whole bunch of challenges for a commercial brewery – it’s a bit like putting a hay meadow in your pristine bowling green – but we’ve been very careful to keep it entirely separate.
“We brewed a strong beer in pre-used wooden barrels and inoculated it with wild yeasts and friendly bacteria. Now we’ll add the cherries.
“We don’t yet know when it will be ready – sometimes the Belgians leave it for three years – but Christmas is a good estimate.
“The finished result will have quite a tart, vinous taste that is then balanced by the fruit to create something not far off of a fine port.”