Review: Friek, Odell Brewing

Odell Brewing Co. — Fort Collins, CO

  • Style:  Barrel-Aged Wild Ale with Fruit
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled: 750 ml corked & caged bottle  (full disclosure: sample provided by brewery)

Description: "FRIEK is an evolution, an imaginative amalgamation invented by our brewers. Multiple KRIEK Lambic style ales are fermented with WILD yeast and TART cherries and then moved into OAK BARRELS to age and sour taking on the CHERRY flavors. As the beer matures, FRAMBOISES (raspberries) from Schroyer Family Farms in Fort Collins are handpicked and readied for the beer. The fresh RASPBERRIES are added immediately prior to the final blending. The sweet and tart flavors MINGLE on the tongue with a sparkling dry finish." — Odell Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:  I've really been getting into wild (sour) beers during the past year. I'm even attempting to brew my own sour cherry ale. Wild beers are special because they take lots of time (usually years) and plenty of TLC to create. I added Friek to my lineup of holiday beer treats and reserved it for our New Year's Eve toast. Friek is part of Odell's barrel aged Single Serve Series which includes Avant Peche (Imperial Porter aged with Peaches) and Saboteur (Brown Ale with Brettanomyces).

The tasting:  Poured into champagne flutes. Reddish orange in color, hazy, with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. It has plenty of fizzy champagne-like effervescence. Aroma of raspberry, cherry, and sour apple, with a light touch of wild funk. Overall, the aroma is great! In flavor, it starts with slightly sweet raspberry and tart cherry. The lactobacillus lends a solid sour note that underlies the fruit. It won't make you pucker, but it's not subtle.

Light notes of oak, biscuit malt, and vanilla emerge in the middle. Alcohol is not noticeable in aroma or flavor. With the exception of some light earthy hops, overall bitterness is minimal. Friek is light bodied, highly carbonated, and has a fizzy champagne-like mouth feel. It finishes dry with oak, yeast, and raspberry. This is a beautifully balanced beer with loads of complex flavor!

Rating:  5 star.  Liquid Perfection!  My wife and I absolutely loved Friek! It has amazing blend of fruit and oak and its level of sour was just right for both of our palates. (In general, she likes less sour and I like more.)  I was really impressed by its balance—the fruit, oak, and sour elements all complement each other and meld together seamlessly! We generally drink our beer slowly, but Friek quickly disappeared after our New Year's Eve toast. So for just the 7th time (out of 195 reviews), I'm awarding it my highest 5 star rating. I hope Odell releases Friek again next winter, because we're not going back to champagne toasts on New Years Eve!

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