Apr 28 2009

Founders Cerise Review

Here is yet another Founders review, because they just came to Virginia and I am like a kid in a candy shop. Well, a candy shop that only sells beer. And, of course, I’m not a kid and I’m old enough to drink. You know what I mean.

The Founders Cerise is a fruit beer flavored with cherries. That kind of statement usually sends beer drinkers in several directions. I’ll give you a moment. Ready? OK.

If you are the kind of drinker who cringes when you hear about fruit being added to beer, I feel you. I love fruit lambics, and I’ve brewed a few fruit beers in my time (mostly stouts and sour ales), but it is rare that I taste a fruit beer that I want to try again.

The story behind this brew is that they used to make a beer called Rubaeus, which was brewed with raspberries. That has been replaced with Cerise due to the rising cost of raspberries, and to support the farmers of their home state, since the majority of tart cherries sold in the U.S. are from Michigan.

This beer is 15 IBUs and 6.5% alcohol. The color of the Cerise is candy red, but not translucent. Like a dull Kool-Aid red that stains the lips of little kids. The head is thin and light pink in color.

The aroma is tart cherry. There is a back note of acidity, too.

The flavor? This beer has a liquor sweetness to it. It is almost as if someone cracked open a case of chocolate covered cherries and drained the contents into a glass and then threw away the chocolate. There is tons of cherry flavor and cherry skins. The cherries are supposedly added during five different times during fermentation, and there is isn’t a drop of this beer that isn’t riddled with red fruit.

This is a very well crafted beer. It has to be, because the sweetness of the fruit could have quickly over powered this one and turned it into a mosh pit of sweetness. But this has a backbone of light bitterness that keeps this one from becoming too cloying. I’m sure the multiple fruit additions are the secret behind this.

In the end, this one was hard to finish. It just isn’t my thing, but I might try it again with the right food pairing. It might be amazing with a dark, chocolate cake.

So the Founders lovefest ends here. It had to happen eventually, and I had a feeling this would be the dud for me.

It would be interesting to see Founders sour this one up. Dump with one in oak barrels with some brettanomyces, and I’ll be your Huckleberry.

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Apr 28 2009

Founders Porter Review

Yet more of the Founders lovefest here, and this time I’m digging into their porter. It is an American Porter weighing in at 45 IBUs and 6.5% alcohol. The label says “Dark, Rich and Sexy.”

It pours a pitch black with no highlights. The head is moderate and the color of an oatmeal cookie. The aroma is a wealth of roast, coffee and some brown sugar. There is some sweetness beyond the sugar, too, like baked cookies. (There is a cookie theme at play here….)

The taste of this porter follows the burnt sweetness of the aroma. The mouthfeel is full and creamy. Bitterness is there but not a hop bitter, but rather in the form of a burnt roastiness. I think it straddles the line between a stout and a porter, and both styles should be happy to try and claim it. As it warms towards the bottom of the glass, this beer is full of sweet baking cookie flavors and, at the end, chocolate. Not the sweet syrup kind, but rather a cocoa powder.

This is a very full and complex beer and it would make an awesome after dinner beer, and could complement many deserts. I really enjoyed the Founders Porter, but I cannot imagine having more than one in a single sitting.

It is dark, rich and sexy, and hopefully in Virginia to stay.

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