Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Belgium Old Cherry Review

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing | Beer: Old Cherry
Style: Fruit Beer | ABV: 6.5% | IBUs: ~15
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into globe glass

New Belgium Old CherryOld Cherry was originally brewed back in 1995 as one of New Belgium's original beers. It ended up being discontinued in 1998, but demand for another cherry-themed beer was strong enough that a new, lighter beer named Two Cherry was introduced as a fall seasonal. Eventually, that beer too was retired.

However, New Belgium brought back the original Old Cherry for an appearance in "Folly Packs" a few years back. While it has once again fallen into hiatus status, I figured it was about time to get around to posting the notes I took back in early 2009.

Old Cherry is essentially an Amber Ale brewed with the juice of dark Montmorency cherries from Washington state. It has a more potent malt backbone than the Two Cherry version, but is not wildly different. New Belgium describe the finished product as having "a rich cherry aroma and a delicate balance of cherry tartness and barley malt sweetness."

It may be gone (for now), but Old Cherry is not forgotten. Here are my notes.

Appearance: A hazy orange-red body with a finger and a half of off-white head that leaves chunky lacing.

Aroma: Nicely malty with tart berry and other fruit notes. There's no distinct cherry to speak of.

Taste: Tart and slightly sour with subtle cherry notes in the aftertaste. You really have to look for the cherry flavor here. A lot maltier than I was expecting, but more dry than sweet. Overall, much like a lighter version of their Frambozen.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and somewhat chewy at times. Low carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Just about average; you can put down a few easily, but probably won't be chugging it all night.

Verdict: A nice enough malt-forward fruit beer. Certainly a much better attempt at a cherry themed beer than Sam Adam's Cherry Wheat, but nothing earth-shaking. If you like New Belgium's Frambozen, you should enjoy this as well.

Grade: B-

Note: While this review is being posted in 2010, the tasting notes contained within were taken when the beer was fresh in early 2009.

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