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