Finish (or start) the year on a sweet note! Cherry beers can take place of champagne, or be the perfect dessert. Here are five we’re indulging in now:
A perennial favorite, Odell Friek ages on cherries in oak; fresh raspberries are added toward the end of fermentation. Pucker up: This brew’s gorgeously tart and funky from start to end, with rich cherry and sparkling raspberry fruitiness throughout. We love how the interplay of fruit and wild character is impeccable and complex, but the finish is simple and clean.
Belgian sour Rodebach Caractere Rouge is not always available, but when it is, we scramble. Its wonderfully soft but weighty mouthfeel is a showstopper, as is the full fruit flavor, courtesy of time this Flanders red spent aging in oak with cherries, cranberries and raspberries. Sourness rides the sip and pulls at the tongue, while the fruity cherry and cranberry additions surface at the center. Tart berry and lovely oakiness last deep into the finish.
Birrifico Italiano Sirces hails from the land of vino, but there’s no mistaking the fruit in this sour: It’s made with heaps of sweet black cherries. We appreciate that it drinks quite simply, like pure cherry juice; underlying tartness pulls into a clean, quiet finish.
Double Mountain Devil’s Kriek is a lovely crimson-hued Flanders red that spent time aging on whole Bing cherries, plucked from an orchard near the brewery. The fleshy cherry flavor’s flanked by zingy tartness and acidity; we love how Brett ensures a bone-dry finish.
A dark dessert beer, Starr Hill’s Shakedown Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout has a jolt of coffee aroma; on the tongue, chocolate and coffee command the sip. We thought the cherries were subdued, quietly ornamenting full stout flavors.