Many of you have been enjoying our latest single serve offering Friek and we wanted to provide you with a little more history behind this special project that began over 3 years ago.
Doug Odell has always been committed to supporting homebrewers and has participated in the GABF Pro-Am competition since its inception in 2006. Working with the local Fort Collins homebrew club, The Liquid Poets, Doug worked with local homebrewer Eric Menchen who won the Best of Show in their clubs 2006 competition with his Kriek. Given the time constraints on producing this Kriek Ale for the GABF deadline, Doug and Eric instead brewed a batch of Eric’s Kriek here at the brewery with Colorado grown tart and sweet cherries so it had proper time to age and develop.
Still new to Sour Beers and without the proper facilities to house this beer at the brewery, the brew was relocated to Niwot where Eric kept a watchful eye on the fermentation over the following year. The beer was then brought back up to the brewery where it aged in an isolated part of the brewery in oak barrels for the next 5 months. After the aging time much of Eric’s Kriek was kegged for the taproom and Eric, with a small amount remaining in barrels to continue souring.
Inspired by the process of brewing Eric’s Kriek, Doug and Director of Productions Brendan McGivney, brewed their interpretation of a Kriek style Sour Ale in the summer of 2008. For this beer they brought together the knowledge of Brendan’s recent trip to Belgian and Doug’s inspiration from his project with Eric in writing their recipe for their Kriek. They began playing around with different cherry sources and varieties, and for the first time used Brettanomycees in the process. A small amount of Doug and Eric’s Kriek was added to inoculate the new barrels with the resident bacteria.
Later that year during the Raspberry harvest Doug and Brendan added freshly picked Fort Collins Raspberries, thereby creating the concept for Friek as it came to be. During this time Doug and Eric’s beer was souring nicely and Doug decided it was time to blend some of his recent batch he brewed with Brendan with the remaining beer from Doug and Eric’s brew. This beer was kegged for our tasting room and for the Vail Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines festival.
This process of brewing small batches of Doug and Brendan’s Kriek on the pilot brewhouse continued and as more oak barrels began to fill with this delicious sour ale, it was decided that we would attempt to do a full scale production batch for public release. Like Brendan and Doug’s first collaboration on this project, fresh handpicked raspberries were added at the end of aging to give it the complex fruit characteristic that plays so well with the unique combination of House Ale yeast, Brettanomycees and bacteria that Doug and Brendan chose to use.
We hope you are enjoying this unique hand crafted ale as much as we are and we are looking forward to continuing this project in the future. The next batch of Friek has been aging in oak and souring for quite some time now, so if you missed out the first time around don’t worry it will be back…we just need to be patient and wait for the yeast, wild yeast and bacteria to do their thing!