The hunt for new beers is a wild and endless journey, and is what makes being a beer lover so fun. I'm a big fan of many styles, but there are always a few styles that I find very special. One of them is a very rarely produced Belgian beer style, called gluhkreik or "glow kreik". Gluhkriek is a strong, warming brew that is traditionally based on a Belgian brown ale, and is brewed with cherries. What makes gluhkriek so interesting is the beer is meant to be consumed hot, not cold.
Hot beer? It is not as crazy as you think, gluhkriek follows the tradition of mulled ciders and wines, making this style, an amazingly good winter warmer. I have only had two examples in all my years as a beer drinker. One being a Belgian example called Liefman's Gluhkriek, and the beer I am reviewing here, Unibroue Quelque Chose. I was lucky enough to sample this beer from the ground floor, when it first hit the U.S.market back in the late 90's. I'm happy to say I can still get a limited supply of years later.
The true beauty of this beer style, is the fact you can enjoy it a number of ways. In the summer months you could drink it cold as a cocktail or aperitif. You could enjoy it at room temperature and experience it as a kriek or fruit beer, but to really enjoy this beer, it should be served hot, the authentic way. It is first and foremost a winter warmer, and one of the most delicious ones you will ever taste. Coming in at 8% abv, and brewed with lots of pale malt, and cherries, Quelque Chose should be heated to "sipping" warm from the use of a double boiler, or 45 to 60 seconds in the microwave.
Quelque Chose pours to a beautiful, bright ruby color with a slight white head that fades and a soft carbonation. The nose of this beer is amazingly good with vapors of hard candy cherry aroma and waves of alcohol. The palate is lush and full with wonderful flavors of ripe cherry, with touches of cherry sourness, that play against a soft malty base. This beer finishes with more of that wonderful warming cherry character and alcohol heat, as it slides down hot, and warms the belly.
This beer is the ultimate winter warmer. It is the perfect beer to have after a cold day of shoveling snow, or as a beer to sit and relax with next to a roaring fire with a good book or movie. It is marketed in corked 500ml brown bottles and retails for $8-$9. It is a bit pricey, but I say a style like this is well worth the money. Available in only select markets for the Winter, this beer can be a bit hard to find, but well worth seeking out. For more information about this beer and the brewery visit their site at:http://www.unibroue.com/