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1st May 2014

Brewery launches Cornish cherry kriek

A kriek style beer with a Cornish cherry twist has been officially launched this week by award-winning St Austell Brewery – providing another exciting addition to its bottled beer line-up.
The Cornish brew of one of Belgium’s most famous beer styles has been made using 50kg of the tastiest cherries grown in the heart of the Tamar Valley.
The cherries used by St Austell Brewery were handpicked last summer at an orchard at Bohetherick Farm in the Tamar Valley near Saltash, Cornwall, before being mashed entirely by foot and added to the specialist beer.
Roger Ryman, Head Brewer at St Austell Brewery, said: “This is the latest in our programme of experimental beers that are really about having a bit of fun and pushing the boundaries. The natural fermentation process required for a kriek beer does bring with it a whole bunch of challenges for a commercial brewery – it’s a bit like putting a hay meadow in your pristine bowling green – but we’ve been very careful to keep it entirely separate.
“Back in 2012 we trialled the beer in pre-used wooden barrels and inoculated it with wild yeasts and friendly bacteria. Then we added the whole cherries, which we are very proud to say were sourced locally, in the heart of the Tamar Valley. We didn’t know exactly when it would be ready – sometimes the Belgians leave it for three years – but ours was conditioning for around six months.
“The finished result pours ruby red and has quite a tart, vinous taste that is balanced by the fruit to create something not far off of a fine vintage port. We are describing it as a Flemish sour red ale and it’s a beer for connoisseurs. We hope it will both surprise and delight people who try it for the first time.”
The Tamar Valley was once renowned for fruit growing after the development of the railway meant producers could have their produce on sale in Covent Garden just hours after picking. But the global marketplace has seen demand dwindle and there are now very few cherry trees left in the region.
Bohetherick Farm has an orchard with more than 50 Burcombe cherry trees, some of which are more than 125 years old.
Around 1,000 bottles of Tamar Creek, which has an ABV of 7.3%, have been produced in a 750ml sharing bottle. St Austell Brewery recommends serving it chilled and enjoyed from a wine glass or chalice.
Tamar Creek is available now via the St Austell Brewery online store for £14 per bottle, including P&P, visit It is also available at the St Austell Brewery visitor centre shop.
Image captions: A bottle of St Austell Brewery’s new Tamar Creek, and head brewer Roger Ryman crushing the cherries used to make it.