Too extreme


On my recent trip to Belgium, I came across "Mort Subite Xtreme", a kriek beer (spontaneously fermented beer of the Lambic family with cherries added during fermentation) that sparked my interest. Mort Subite ("sudden death", named after a game of dice, not after what happens when you drink it) is generally regarded as one of the better breweries making fruit beers and their regular kriek is pleasantly drinkable and generally gets good, if not rave reviews.

I wasn't really sure what to make of the "Xtreme" moniker. I had hoped that it meant extreme as in more like a traditional lambic, i.e. on the sour or even tart side, like the "oude kriek" varieties offered by some breweries.

Pouring it into the glass, it was remarkably red, with a nice pink foamy head. The taste was, however, the opposite of what I had hoped for: rather sweet, no sour note at all, and a very strong, in fact extreme, taste of cherries -- really too much, as far as I'm concerned. The "Xtreme" part obviously refers to the cherry taste rather than the lambic style.

At 4.3% alcohol and tasting like cherry juice, this is a dangerous drink -- both in terms of getting drunk too easily and in terms of upsetting your stomach. Use with caution.


Not that surprising. You could argue that several attempts have been made lately to explore traditional makings and styles in order to re-introduce "new" flavours and thus attract new customer groups.

On the other hand, the "Xtreme" suggests that they are heading for young customers. And when I remember what we used to drink, when we were around twenty... I am not going there again!

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