DURANGO, Colo. – A Steamworks version of a Belgian Kriek – dubbed “Super Kriek” – will be tapped at Steamworks Brewing Co. at 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, for Firkin Friday, Steamworks’ monthly showcase of unique hand-crafted beers.
“Kriek lambic is a traditional style of Belgian beer made by fermenting lambic with sour Morello cherries,” said Director of Brewing Operations Ken Martin, Certified Cicerone®, noting the name is derived from the Flemish word for that type of cherry – the kriek. “For our version we will take our Ale Diablo – a Belgian Strong Golden style – as a base and re-ferment with tart Montmorency cherries from Wisconsin. We are also going to add some of our lactobacillus culture for increased sourness/tartness.”
A traditional lambic is fermented spontaneously with airborne yeast said to be native to Brussels. The presence of cherries (or raspberries) predates the almost universal use of hops as a flavoring in beer. The cherries are left in for a period of several months, causing a refermentation of the additional sugar. Typically no sugar will be left so there will be a fruit flavor without sweetness.
“Though our version won’t be spontaneously fermented, we’re hoping to replicate this complex blend of flavors. Our Ale Diablo already has a fruity aroma and taste,” said Brewer and Certified Cicerone® Spencer Roper. “The result should be a refreshingly tart fruit beer that is deceptively strong – about a 9 percent ABV.”
By definition, a firkin is an old English unit of volume, typically a wooden cask equal to approximately one-quarter of a regular barrel, or nine/ten gallons. The word “firkin” is derived from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means “fourth” as in one-fourth the size.
In the United Kingdom, cask-conditioned beer, which in the U.S. is also referred to as a firkin, is known as “real ale.” Authentic cask ale must be kept at “cellar temperature” – about 54 degrees – and is conditioned in its cask in Steamworks’ “cellar,” or actually the basement at the brewpub.
In cask conditioning, the yeast transforms the sugar into alcohol within the cask, and the natural carbonation results from the trapped carbon dioxide occurring as a byproduct. Firkin beer is unpasteurized and unfiltered and served at the cellar temperature – cool but not cold.
Steamworks initiated its Firkin Fridays to introduce unusual, specialty craft beers to patrons, and augment its regular, award-winning offerings. Steamworks, open 11 a.m. to closing seven days a week, is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200). For further information, visit www.steamworksbrewing.com.