Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Kriek
Oude Kriek received the highest score of 2010 in The Beer Connoisseur Magazine's third edition. Stats and judges notes follow.
Notes by Charlie Gow
Hanssens Artisanaal, Dworp, Belgium
(imported by B. United International, www.bunitedint.com)
Distribution: Available throughout much of the United States and elsewhere.
Food Pairing Recommendations
Kiwi-lime sorbet, carbonnade a la flammande
Cheese: Complement – ripened triple cream (Brillat-Savarin) | Contrast – double Gloucester
Judges’ Notes: In the interest of full disclosure, this was a sample from my cellar that had roughly two years of age on it, in addition to the three-plus years it already matured prior to shipping. Still, this is truly a world-class beer, irrespective of its provenance. Hanssens has been producing some of the most widely acclaimed lambic, especially kriek and gueuze, in recent memory. This beer hits the glass with a deep, rusty, reddish-brown color and throws a very small, rather lacy head. The aromas that waft from the glass are rich with hints of almond, ripe cherry and a gentle sourness. All of the judges picked up on the beer’s age and offered comments on the depth and complexity that it lent the beer’s aromas and flavors. Tim commended the complex aroma, noting that it was brimming with mustiness, bright acidity and an appealing fruitiness, and Tom was impressed with the solid cherry aroma and its interaction with the less-prominent earthy, mushroom notes. As one would expect of a vintage kriek, this beer’s flavor abounded with deep, brooding dark cherry, stingingly dry almond notes and puckering sourness. Rick profusely praised the complex interplay of fruit, cherry stone and cask aging, calling this beer a true classic, while Tim compared the overall experience to listening to jazz – “lots of components, but one true song.” This is undoubtedly an epic brew that any self-respecting beer connoisseur should take great pains to acquire and – if possible – lay down for a while. It will be well worth the wait.