Saturday, November 19, 2011

Odell Friek review

Odell FriekGold medals are hard to come by, and Odell Brewing of Fort Collins is no stranger to winning. This year at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, they took home the Gold in the Wood and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer category. This beer returned in 750ml bottles once again this year and has quickly become a fan favorite. This beer is none other than Odell Friek - an ale made with cherries & raspberries and then aged in oak barrels.

Back on October 29, 2011, Odell had a Friek Out party to welcome back this oak-aged sour ale. The beer itself is classified in many ways: a Lambic styled ale, a wood-aged ale, a sour ale, a wild ale and a fruit ale. I would definitely place it in the sour category, but the fruit cannot be ignored here as it is a major player.

Just as soon as I spotted a bottle of Odell Friek in my local store (and there were only 2 bottles in stock), I just had to buy one. I'm typically not the first to buy a beer and review it. I like seeing how others react to a beer and then try to make my own mind up. I'm a sour ale fanatic and this beer was one I was anxious to try.

Appearance: Odell Friek poured a light reddish-orange color. The beer itself was clear and easy to see through. With a modest pour, the nearly white fizzy head built up to over 3 fingers high quite quickly and stuck around only for a 30 seconds or so. A thin white ring remained on the edges of the glass with a lot of bubbles rising from the bottom of the tulip glass.

Aroma: Even if I was blindfolded, I could tell immediately that this was a sour ale with some sweetness and fruit overtones. It had a subtle hint of cherries and raspberries and even a hint of the oak, but that seemed secondary to the familiar wild yeast aroma. To me, Odell Friek was quite inviting. I love sour ales and this scent seemed to fit my sour craving right up front. Granted, it wasn't a strong sour sensation, but sour none the less.

Taste and Feel: First sips are important, and this Friek didn't disappoint. I tasted a tart fruitiness up front with a slightly sour bite. I was glad that the cherry taste seemed blended well along with the rest of the brew and wasn't too dominant. The raspberries added later in the blend mixed well with the sour cherries. It's hard to tell exactly what the oak did for this beer, but I believe it helped to tone down the sweetness a bit added to the earthy and wine-like feel.

Friek had a dry, clean taste. There was an abundance of carbonation in this brew and the beer seemed to fizzle a bit on my tongue, but was still far short of the sensation of champagne. There was no noticeable aftertaste in this beer. The taste I got was consistent from start to finish. The alcohol bite was there, but well hidden.

Just for fun, I asked my wife to try this beer. I have to say up front that she is not a fan of alcoholic beverages at all, but I thought she might like the taste of this one. From her virgin palate, she thought it tasted a bit like cherry medicine and had a slight burning sensation on the aftertaste. So unfortunately for her, it didn't change her mind about beer or lambics. Ah well, more beer for me then!

Overall: Odell Friek seemed like a pleasant after dinner or dessert beer with a sour twist. I felt that it would pair well with many sweet foods. For sour lovers like me, Friek is a crisp, enjoyable brew that isn't too tart or sour and had a sparkling fruit juice-like taste that I felt I could use to make some formal toasts with. It seemed far less of a beer than most ales I've had and more of a crisp fruit drink with some kick to it. Even so, I still very much enjoyed this drink.

For those of you who haven't indulged in sour ales before, this may make a worthy beer to break in your sour cherry with so to speak. Yet it's not too sour, and sufficiently fruity and slightly malty. Instead of a hop bitterness, I got the funkiness of the yeast and a big wild aroma along with it.

This is definitely a beer I would recommend to sour ale and lambic fans. Odell seems to have found a perfect use for those oak barrels with this Friek.

Video showing the pour of :

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Related articles:
- Dark Days of November to pour at Odell Brewing.
- Odell Frieks out once again.
- Celebrating my 50th with Odell Woodcut No. 1.
- Odell Mountain Standard Reserve review.

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