I recently spotted some Founders Cerise at the Gomer’s in Parkville when I was up there a week or so ago. In my mind, this was going to be a cherry stout, like Bell’s, but of course, it isn’t. I’ve been eating a lot better lately, so this is the first beer I’ve had in several weeks.

Founders Cerise is made with tart Michigan cherries, and according to the website, five cherry additions are made at various times throughout the fermentation process for “the ultimate balance between tartness and sweetness.” The beer weighs in at 15 IBU’s and 6.5% ABV.

Cerise pours a cloudy reddish-pinkish-orangeish-brownish color (think dirty dishwater!) and I got very little foam that completely died down almost immediately. For being a cherry fruit beer, I get a little cherry on the nose, but really not much in the aroma.

The flavor, however, is all cherry! The first sip was sweet and tart at the same time, even getting a little pinch in the inside of my cheeks like I get from sour Belgians, although I don’t think there are any funky bugs in this beer to make it sour, rather that comes from just the cherries.

No hops to speak of, for me, which makes sense for a fruit beer where the fruit is the centerpiece. If I could think of a graphical representation for this beer, it is hits my tongue with a stripe of tart right down the middle wrapped in sweetness along the edges. It sounds weird, but I think you’ll know what I mean when you taste it! There is a nice amount of carbonation to give a touch of prickly sensation with each sip, but really this a lot like drinking a dry carbonated cherry juice.

The alcohol on this beer is virtually impossible to detect, and there is no medicinal or extract-y quality to this beer. I thought I was getting a hint of what seemed like coriander, to me (which makes no sense at all!), but as I sipped more it morphed into more of a vanilla flavor.

Cerise is delicious and an excellent example of how to do a fruit beer without making it go too far in one direction or another. True to the website’s claims, Founders really does strike a wonderful balance between the tart and the sweet. If you like cherries you’ll love this beer, and I think it would pair up great with chocolate desserts, chocolate, ice cream (vanilla, chocolate or cherry) or cheesecake. It could probably even be used in a reduction to pour over ice cream or cheesecake, and I dare to say this would be a great beer for an ice cream float, too! Another winner from Founders. YUM!