Fearful Symmetries

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09 March, 2016

Hello Daddy, Hello Mom: Black Forest Cherry by August Schell Brewing Co.

I'm your Black Forest Cherry bomb

The fourth Noble Star Berliner Weisse is Black Forest Cherry. Just as Framboise Du Nord used 5,000 pounds of raspberries, so does this one use 5,000 pounds of the eponymous fruit. And just like I did with Framboise Du Nord, I thought of a New Glarus beer as I opened my Black Forest Cherry – Belgian Red. Two sour cherry beers, sure, but two rather different beers nonetheless.

A Schell's press release said the inspiration for this bier was the old German tradition of putting some cherry liquor into a Berliner Weisse. (I think they may have meant liqueur but that's not a big issue.) I'd never heard of this practice (no surprise there) and thought that the addition of cherry was simply to produce another bier flavored with traditional German fruits as opposed to kumquats or other tropical ones. On the other had, I wasn't surprised. I've read of Germans putting caraway flavored liquor into their bier (perhaps Schell will brew a caraway Noble Star) as well as northern Germans drinking bier with a shot of Korn which is basically vodka made from rye.

As the fourth release we've come to the summer of 2014, about a year after the first Noble Star. My bottle was filled in July 2014.

Black Forest Cherry pours an auburn hue with a little extra red in there. Unlike the last Noble Star, this bier was downright hazy. Again I was unable to generate any more than a small tan head that dissipated quickly. As expected, there were plenty of bubbles inside the bier moving on up.

I recently read a wine review in which the author claimed that a particular vino smelled like smoked quartz and slate to her. I'd never encountered such a fusion of olfactory prowess and geology previously. In addition there was washed rind cheese, fennel or perhaps celery, tarragon, apple, and white flowers. All of this in a single wine – and that's just the aroma.

This Sokal-eque review comes to mind because, when I took a sniff of my Black Forest Cherry, I didn't get a laundry list of aromas. Just two, in fact – lemony lacto and tart cherry. Regardless, it smelled wonderful despite lacking any igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic scents.

My previous Noble Star went easy on the carbonation but that was not the case here. Black Forest Cherry is quite fizzy. The lactic acid sourness was big and bright and complemented well by the more blunt tartness of the cherries. In addition to their tartness, the cherries themselves were quite tasty with their almondy-clovey taste providing a nice counterpoint to the citrus flavor of the lactic acid. There was a mild woodiness from the aging tanks here too which went really nicely with the stone fruit.

Black Forest Cherry finished with the lactic sour and cherry tart lingering on the tongue.

Despite being rather tart and sour, the bier didn't come across as being very acidulous. Perhaps this is because of the large dose of cherry. My glass was left ohne Schaumhaftvermoegen.

What a lovely bier. It was dry overall with a goodly amount of sour and tart. I really enjoyed how the bacteria and fruit came together here. Again Schell has brewed a bier that isn't too anything – they really know how to give your tongue a good dose of sour without going overboard and how to add fruit without having it smother the bier. This is Jace Marti and company in the zone, at the top of their game, and whatever other sports phrase trips your trigger.

Junk food pairing: Wash down a Hostess Cherry Pie with your Black Forest Cherry. For a savory treat, grab a handful of Kettle Maple Bacon potato chips.

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|| Palmer, 8:23 AM


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