Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Founders Cerise

I sing the praises of fruit beer about as often as I sing the praises of the New York Mets. But Founders Cerise is a fruit beer I truly love. It’s one of the few spring/summer seasonals that I actually get excited about (I’m way more stoked for fall and winter beers, generally speaking). Using only fresh Michigan tart cherries and adding them at five separate stages of fermentation, Founders has created a delicious fruit ale that’s both sweet and tart. At just 15 IBUs, this summer treat is about as far away from bitter as you can get in a beer- something I really appreciate in this season of assertively hopped APAs. Truth be told, it’s exactly what it’s purported to be - predominantly cherry flavored, with a nice balance of sweetness and tartness going down. It’s light-bodied and highly drinkable, with a nice malty backbone that distinguishes it from a wine cooler or cherry pop. It is what it is - a perfect summer beer for us grown-ups who loved cherry slushies as kids. And I love that it uses only Michigan cherries - this is not a beer that could be duplicated with cherries from California or Washington. Overall, this may not be the most acclaimed beer in the Founders lineup. I’d even dare to call it kind of underrated. While far from a “big” beer, it’s as exquisitely crafted and expertly balanced as World Beer Cup winners like Dirty Bastard and Centennial IPA. Ever notice how utterly nasty fruit beers sometimes are? That’s because it’s really freaking hard to make a fruit beer that’s not too sweet or too sour or simply fake-tasting. Major respect to Founders for pulling off the near impossible! I will be in Founders territory in early August, and I’ll be looking to stock up. If the Cerise is sold out, my weeping will be audible from miles away.

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