Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cherry beer

Ballaton Cherries
Before the second world war there were about 40 000 acres of cherry orchards in Britain. These were mainly in Kent, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.The past 50 years however 90 % of these cherry orchards have disappeared.
The labour was very intensive as the trees were very high, too high to cover the crop from the birds. I were mostly women who harvested the cherries on high ladders with baskets tied to their waists.
Grand Traverse
To tackle this problem nowadays and to revive cherry growing, dwarf plants are planted to replace the towering trees. The dwarf trees are covered with netting so the birds can't steal the crop and the orchard has a maximum yield.

Grand Traverse

Britain however is not the only country in danger of loosing their native fruit, in Belgium you can't even get Belgian cherries in the supermarket. You find them rarely at the market. A lot of cherry growers in Belgium leave their crop rot on the trees because it's too expensive to pick them for the price they will get for them. Such a shame that the most famous 'Schaerbeekse cherry' has been lost for ever, this was the variety used for the typical Belgian cherry beer. Instead of finding another Belgian cherry, most of the breweries choose to import the cherries from Poland. Only a small number of cherries used for the beer today are Belgian.

Slabtown Kriek is made with Ballaton cherries from the Grand Traverse area. I hope that what happened in England and Belgium is not going to happen in Michigan !

Stop by at Café Anvers for a taste of my Cherry beers "Slabtow Kriek" and "Flanders Kriek"

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