For those of you unfamiliar with the world of beer beyond the Miller/Coors/Bud swill, get out there and look around. Try some real beer, then come back. For the rest of you, TheTooth found a great lambic that both of us would put at the top of our lists. From a very small brewery in Belgium, Brewery de Ranke, Kriek de Ranke is a wonderful cherry lambic. Their story is pretty long, but if you have a moment, check it out here. Friday was a pretty hot evening, so I decided to throw together a cheese & crackers & meat platter. I know, I know, all of the "experts" say not to have more than a few cheeses on one platter, but how would we know which ones we liked with the beer? As for the meats, I can't call it a fancy charcuterie platter since I left off the condiments and all. (Admission time. This is one of our favorite summer meals as we can graze for the duration of the evening and enjoy a great beverage at the same time.)
About that beer: if you haven't tried a real lambic, you're missing out! True lambics have a bit of a sour note, so if you like anything fruity to be sweet, move on. In reality, that sourness is perfect here as it helps round out the fruit flavors. We went with tulip-shaped glasses, and discovered a red, tingly brew in the glass. The head was a dark pink that quickly dissipated into a thin film. The nose was very tart, more acidic than cherry, but the cherry crept up on you. And the flavor? Amazing. Full, round, sour cherry, followed with a bit of earthiness. The sourness was pleasant, not too sharp. On the mouth, the feel was crisp and clean, but not thin. The level of carbonation made this seem even drier than it was.
Heavenly pairing: Peppered goat cheese smeared on whole wheat crackers. There's really nothing to say about it except wow.