Fancy Pants Sunday 3 Fonteinen Schaarbeekse Kriek
Bone dry and cherry jam — welcome to Fancy Pants Sunday 3 Fonteinen Schaarbeekse Kriek Blend No. 73 (Season 19/20).
Pronounced “goo-zah,” gueuze is not really a style, per se, but rather a combination of versions of another style, lambic. Lambics are sour, funk beers fermented with wild yeast and bacteria — those that live and breed naturally in the wilderness. Young lambics are sweet and inoffensive. Aged lambics will slap your face with acidity than become more delicious over time. Brewers found that by blending young and old versions of lambic, they got the best of both worlds — a gueuze. The younger lambics contribute the sugars that lead to second fermentation in the bottle, while the older lambics lend developed flavor. The result is a balanced, well-carbonated beer with pronounced sour character. Gueuzes are bottled after blending, then aged for 2-3 years to produce a dryer, fruitier and more intense style of Lambic. When combined with high carbonation it results in a tart, refreshing beer with significant complexity.
Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen, or Drie Fonteinen, focuses on aging and blending the beers of other lambic brewers. It’s a particularly Belgian concept that the creative process in producing a beer comes not when its ingredients are combined and fermented, but in how the resulting beer is aged and blended with other vintages to create a new transcendent concoction. In this case, Schaarbeekse Kriek Blend No. 73 (Season 19/20) has been conditioned on 1- and 2-year-old lambics in barrels for 14 months with locally grown Schaarbeekse cherries. The sour fruits come from a community of families near the brewery, most with just a few heirloom Schaarbeekse trees in their yards. These neighbors hand harvest the cherries, ensuring that each one is picked at its ideal ripeness. Finally, the Belgian brewers blend the barrels to achieve an average age of more than 2.5 years and 7.7-percent alcohol by volume.
Today, Peaks & Pints discovers a nose of stone fruit, hay, tart acidity, and cherry jam, followed by bone dry tannins plus layers of leather and vanilla mingling with the juicy sour fruit, while bakery notes of marzipan and cinnamon mellow the funky brightness.
You fancy 3 Fonteinen Schaarbeekse Kriek Blend No. 73!