Region: Belgium & Colorado
Price: $10.99/22-oz at Total Wine
Style: Fruit beer
Sight: clear ruby, cotton candy pink circlet
Smell: fresh-picked cherry, Pinot Noir, purple or red Flintstones vitamins
Taste: dark Hudson cherries, dry rosé, spice cake
Overall: My very simple understanding of this undertaking in the Lips of Faith series is that a cherry lambic from Old Belgium blended with a non-cherry ale at New Belgium. Right from the pour this beer is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a glass full of my birthstone—ruby—with a wide column of fine, miniscule bubbles floating silently but expediently from the depths to the surface. As a whole, it looks so clean, clear, and unflawed that it’s as if someone found a perfectly smooth, solid, oval ruby, and happened to have a piece of glassware that fit it like a glove. Stunning—I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever looked upon a prettier beer. I’m sure, however, you’re also interested in its personality, so I’ll move on to the aromas…
Something about this smells just like a Pinot Noir—bright acid and tart red fruit. The cherry note is very fresh, barely ripe, right off the tree. Funny enough, there is also a snap of something that recalls the Flintstones vitamins I’d crunch on my way to elementary school—specifically the red and purple ones.
There is no candy and nothing artificial on the palate whatsoever. If you’re used to your cherry lambics being sweet, look again—New Belgium has fine-tuned a tastefully dry blend here. It tastes like a cherry fruit chew; not the fake plasticky kinds like Life Savers or Gummy Bears, but rather the responsible-school-lunch varieties you never fully appreciated for their nutritional value—the ones made from 100% real fruit juice and little else. The cherry flavor is very real and unadulterated; it doesn’t taste too far off from the dark cherries we keep on the table at home.
There’s a protean maturity at play here that I really admire; somewhere this beer crosses a line and acheives wine-like complexities and flavors. I’ll go ahead call it “vinous”—but not in a heavy Port or busty Cabernet kind of way. It drinks like the dry rosés of Provence: light- to medium-bodied, fresh red fruit flavors, zero residual sugar, especially satisfying during spring and summer months. It’s satisfyingly circular that this beer has traveled all the way across the Atlantic to America, only to bring me right back across the Atlantic to the South of France.
I don’t think I can recommend this highly enough.
Pair this with a bagel & cream cheese to achieve maximum deliciousness.