19 October 2016

Fruity beers – Tracking the Belgians

Well-versed brewers know the main ingredients of beer – water, malt, hops. And a bit of yeast, that’s actually all that a beer needs. But is it really all? When having a look at Belgian beers, it’s difficult to avoid beers brewed with other ingredients, such as fruit. But why are they contained in beer? Let’s browse history a bit. Tradition has it that the ancient Egyptians added fruit to beer. One can only speculate about the reason. Some say simply for improving taste; others say that addition of fruit introduced more fermentable sugar, raised the alcohol content and made the beers “more intoxicating”. In the records of later centuries, recipes are found again and again describing addition of fruit to beer, but none of these beers established themselves. But wait – some will say –, what about e.g. Belgian Kriek? However, this Belgian speciality including sour cherries isn’t as old as many would like to think. Kriek was brewed, in significant quantities, and sold as of the 1930s. Beers such as Framboise Lambic made their appearance quite late, brewing of these beers started only in the 1950’s.

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