It may be winter, but the Cherry Kriek is flowing fast at Strange Brewing, which is finally able to make enough of the taphouse favorite to supply a few bars, including the Rackhouse Pub, Ale House at Amato's and Freshcraft, where it goes on tap this weekend. Strange Brewing replaced its one-barrel brewing system with a seven-barrel brewhouse in September to keep up with demand and allow brewery owners Tim Myers and John Fletcher to make much more beer in fewer hours.
The 4.7 ABV Cherry Kriek, which uses $150 worth of Michigan or Wisconsin cherries per barrel, is made by brewing a dark Belgian-style wheat beer and then adding the cherries after fermentation. "It's still an expensive beer, but these are beer pubs that are spending $300 to $400 on a specialty keg from big-name breweries," Myers says. "So when I tell them our price, they don't even blink an eye."
And despite the word "kriek" in the name of this beer, there aren't any Belgian souring yeasts used in the recipe; krieks are typically lambic-style beers, meaning that they are fermented with wild yeasts like brettanomyces that have sour cherries added.
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Rather, Cherry Kriek is simply a play on the name Cherry Creek. Eventually, Myers says, he may age a barrel or two of the Cherry Kriek in a Western Slope wine barrel and add some brettanomyces.
In the meantime, stay tuned for Strange's Gingerbread Man, a holiday seasonal that will actually last through the holidays this year since there will be seven barrels of it.