“B” is for “Brooklyn.” We all learned that in school, yes? But “B” is also for “Belgium”. And when Brooklyn Brewery's brewmaster first visited Belgium in 1984, he learned that “K” is for “Kriek”. “Kriek” means “cherry” in Belgian Flanders, where for centuries Kriek beers have been made by adding cherries to lambics and other sour beers. Here in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Brewery based their distinctly American take on Kriek on our dark abbey ale, the estimable Local 2. To this beer’s subtle marriage of malts, dark candi sugar, local wildflower honey and zing of orange peel, the brewery added tart dried whole Montmorency cherries from Michigan. Around this, Brooklyn Brewery wrapped a barrel of charred American bourbon oak. The sugar of the cherries began to ferment away. The barrels hissed. And the brewers waited.
Six months later, the beer emerged with a glowing red color, vibrant acidity, complex fruit aromatics, and a foundation of oak flavors, its strength moving past 10%. Its transformation almost complete, the beer joined priming sugar, Champagne yeast and wild Brettanomyces yeasts in the bottle and underwent a third fermentation. And the brewers waited yet again.
Now, a full year after it was brewed, this beer is ready for your table. K is for Kriek is dry, fruity, tart, full-bodied, and expansive, able to be enjoyed now or after years of cellaring. This beer is wondrous with poultry, duck and pork dishes, tremendous with goat cheeses, and a fine pairing for desserts. Brooklyn Brewery originally made this beer just for ourselves, as part of our unreleased Ghost Bottle series, but it was too tasty to hoard. Beer is for drinking. And K is for Kriek.
Given this beer’s higher ABV and sturdy character, the brewers think it’s a prime candidate for cellaring. Find a cool, dry spot away from light sources, and see how it changes in the years to come. You never quite know what will happen when you age a beer: perhaps the body will smooth out, notes of vanilla, oak, and tannins will come to the front, or hints of leather and soy sauce will make themselves known. No matter what, remember that beer is meant for drinking, so don’t keep it to yourself for too long.