Drie (3) Fonteinen: Oude Kriek: Schaerbeekse Krieken (Belgium: Fruit Lambic: 5% ABV)

Visual: A dark just slightly hazy black cherry red with deep burgundy touches, with medium bubbles and no head on first pour, later pours are cloudier and hold a purple red bubbled head.

Nose: Wood, twigs and black cherries. Sharp, musty and filled with nettles. Gooseberries and mint. The aroma just rolls out of the glass.

Body: A sour sharp mix of gooseberries and black raspberries. Twigs, slight cheese and slight fruit sweetness  Red wine touches. Some odd treacle and a touch of strawberries. Very tart. Black cherry, a curd sourness and slight yoghurt.

Finish:  Greenery, sour and blackberries and Tayberry. Twigs. Dry with slight lemon and hard pastry touches.

Conclusion: Either I’m finally getting used to lambic sharpness or this is one of the best examples of the style I’ve run into, or possibly both.

Admittedly the tale about the rarity of the berry crop that makes it adds a bit of zest to the proceedings, but its full bore and unusual fruit flavours and great balance of sharpness is what keeps your attention.

Another beer that gets richer and stronger as you descend through the bottle, it has all the great fruit lambic elements with sharpness, a dry cheese element, and fruit taste and aroma with great gusto. It manages this without the sharpness becoming overpowering or that teeth drying acidic feel.

A very deep and almost red wine like character, really rich and fruity. A fine beer of character and balance, this is the beer that finally convinces me that lambics can be truly great beers.

Background: A nice background to this one, Initially heard about from the “100 Belgium beers to try before you die” book. Schaerbeekse is apparently a rare berry crop that has fallen out of favour, with easier and more profitable crops being produced by most.   Thus this beer is made irregularly to allow for enough berries to be harvested.   I have not tried Schaerbeekse itself, so had in this tasting  I had to compare instead to other berries I have tried.  After much searching, the beer was finally found in Bruges and was saved for a special tasting where I shared it with friends.