Nothing sheepish about Wig’s new lambic

This week Canberra’s Wig and Pen releases an oak matured beer, modelled on the ancient Belgian lambic style. Brewer Richard Watkins started the brew in January 2009 – a blend of 75 per cent barley and 25 per cent wheat malts – inoculated with a microbial tag-team, including brewer’s yeast, brettanomyces and lactobacillus (derived from Belgian lambic populations).

At the end of 2010, with the traditional lambic style now almost two years in barrel, Watkins sourced a batch of de-stemmed, de-seeded hail-damaged cherries from Young.

To build the mid palate of the beer, he added the pureed cherries to the two barrels – so the lambic became a kriek style, still following the Belgian tradition.

In early February 2012 Watkins transferred the beer to tank for final adjustments, including carbonation and freshening up with a dash more cherry.

Wig and Pen Lambs-go-Baa (Kriek Lambic) 285ml balloon $9
Three years in the making, this is perhaps Richard Watkins finest brewing achievement. The colour’s a medium cherry-skin red and the flavour combines sour cherry and marzipan. Brisk acidity keeps the palate lively and fresh. But there’s a rich texture, too, and a hint of oak-derived vanilla in the dry, delicious aftertaste.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2012
First published 15 February 2012 in The Canberra Times