Speaking of krieks | craft beer bar Hong Kong musing
Blue Supreme Craft Beer Bar Hong Kong Musings by Theodore Lai
A certain level and quality of acidity is great for wine, so is acidity in modern beers faux pas? Traditional beer styles were more acidic because historically brewers were not able to isolate yeast from bacteria in the environment. Nowadays, modern brewers are bringing it back old methods and creating sour beer that are complex, refreshing and most importantly pairs well with food!
So, what is a kriek? Kriek is a sour beer fermented on cherries; it’s the Flemish word for “sour cherries,” and the beer style originated from Belgium. The traditional krieks are either spontaneously fermented or mix fermented (a natural fermentation process that uses wild yeasts and bacteria; from the atmosphere or residing in a barrel respectively). Both fermentation process gives the kriek a nuanced flavour and vinous character. Sugars are fermented out and what is left is a full cherry aroma with a tart, dry finish. A finished kriek is the perfect summer drink; it’s refreshing, crisp, and spritzy. Or even for cooler weathers, as notes of cherry and complex earthy aromatics from the natural fermentation complements gamy and hearty dishes.
Additionally, traditionally brewed krieks are bottle conditioned beers and are a live product. Bottle conditioning involves bottling beers with live culture, causing a secondary fermentation in bottle. Unlike modern commercialised beers like Tsingtao that get its carbonation from an injection of exogenous carbon dioxide under pressure, bottle conditioning allows the beer to be naturally carbonated. The re-fermentation process gives off carbon dioxide that dissolves into the beer that results in a finer and silkier texture. Also, the fermentation process gives off flavour and aroma compounds, allowing the beer to develop deeper and more complex flavours over time. Lastly, such beers have much longer shelf life and ageability.
The krieks we have at Blue Supreme, such as by Brouwerij Boon, are fruity tart, dry and highly effervescence. We recommend pairing it with our Duck Confit Burger. The carbonation along with tartness of the beer acts as a palate cleanser, refreshing the palate after every sip. The cherry aromas act as another component to the dish.
*Lambic: is spontaneously fermented with locally and naturally occurring wild yeasts and bacteria. There are two fermentation stages in the lambic process which involves wild, native microorganisms. Firstly, fermentable wort is left in shallow, open vessels in attics to allow inoculation by wild yeast. Secondly, the inoculated wort is poured into barrels for its sugar to be further fermented by yeast and bacteria on the staves. Spontaneous fermentation is relies on indigenous yeast and such yeast would depart flavours unique to the terroir.