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Cornish cherry beer is up the Kriek

Added: Saturday, May 10th 2014

Cornish cherries

A Belgian-style sour fruit – Kriek -- beer has been launched by St Austell Brewery in Cornwall using 50 kilos of cherries grown in the heart of the Tamar Valley. The cherries were handpicked last summer at an orchard at Bohetherick Farm near Saltash and were then crushed by foot – including the feet of St Austell head brewer Roger Ryman.

Roger says: “This is the latest in our programme of experimental beers that are really about having a bit of fun and pushing the boundaries. The natural fermentation process required for a Kriek beer does bring with it a whole bunch of challenges for a commercial brewery – it’s a bit like putting a hay meadow in your pristine bowling green – but we’ve been very careful to keep it entirely separate.

“Back in 2012 we trialled the beer in pre-used wooden barrels and inoculated it with wild yeasts and friendly bacteria. Then we added the whole cherries. We didn’t know exactly when it would be ready – sometimes the Belgians leave it for three years – but 

Tamar Creek

ours was conditioned for around six months. The finished result pours ruby red and has a quite tart, vinous taste that’s balanced by the fruit to create something not far off a fine vintage port. We are describing it as a Flemish sour red ale and it’s a beer for connoisseurs. We hope it will both surprise and delight people who try it for the first time.”

Bohetherick Farm has an orchard with more than 50 Burcombe cherry trees, some of which are more than 125 years old. Around 1,000 bottles of Tamar Creek, which has an ABV of 7.3%, have been produced in 750ml sharing bottles. The brewery recommends serving it chilled and enjoyed from a wine glass or chalice. The beer is available via the St Austell Brewery online store for £14 per bottle, including P&P: It’s also on sale in the brewery visitor centre shop.