OK, in case you don't know, "Cerise" is French for cherry. That means, you guessed it, Founders Cerise is a beer based on cherries. Fruit in your beer? Thirty years ago that might have seemed an alien concept to most Americans, but today thanks to the microbrewery movement it's as common here as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet. Even the big brewers are getting in on the act (Bud Light Lime, anyone? I thought not).
Having really enjoyed all of the other Founders beers I've tried, I went into my first bottle of Founders Cerise expecting a delightful beer, and really, that's what I got. The beer is bursting with fresh, juicy cherry flavor, doesn't cloy, and is amazingly drinkable and refreshing.
The beer is made with "fresh Michigan tart cherries" according to the brewery's website, and I think the use of whole fruit rather than juice or extract makes a big difference. Founders claims they add the cherries five times during fermentation, making for some very happy yeast indeed. The beer has a higher alcohol content than most fruit beers at 6.5% alcohol by volume.
So, let's try a glass, shall we?
Founders Cerise pours to a pinkish golden color with a light, short-lived head formation and a soft cherry nose. The palate is light and refreshing, slightly tart and full of luscious fruit. There's some toasted malt underneath, too, and it serves with the fresh cherry flavor to call forth notes of fresh cherry pie. Almond and cinnamon notes intensify the effect. I like the depth of the fruit here, too; I can taste the sweet-tart cherries right down to the pits. Then too, the malt is a bit more substantial as well than in other fruit beers that lean too heavily on wheat in the grain bill. The beer is well balanced in the finish, and not at all cloying.
Just for fun, I poured half a bottle of Founders Cerise into a glass, then topped it off with a half bottle of Founders Porter. Now that, my friends, is a genuine treat, as the roasty chocolate and coffee notes of the porter blend sublimely with the tart cherries to suggest beery Black Forest Cake (soaked in kirshwasser, of course) and Cherry Cordials candy.
On the minus side, the beer would be expensive to begin with at $9.99 for a six-pack. The fact that this comes in packs of four only adds insult to injury in that regard. I like it well enough, but would probably pick up a six-pack of Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat before I'd buy Founders Cerise again. Though if I happened to be buying some of that magnificent Founders Porter, I'd probably bite the bullet and pick up a four-pack of Cerise for mixing.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.