VIBE August Style -Berliner Weisse – Sour German Beer

by samadams on October 17, 2011

by otisbradley on October 15, 2011

I didn’t like beer at first … might sound weird for an avid beer brewer but I had to “acquire” the taste for beer much like yogurt. That’s what my parents said when I asked about all the funny drinks and food they liked, “its an acquired taste!”

Well now I have “acquired a taste” and love exploring all the incredible varieties that the craft beer explosion provides. I’ve become an American “hop head” and pretty much avoid European beer! But as my friend Mike says, “you like Belgian beers you just don’t know it yet.” Since most of us grew up with the same 50 +/- breweries that dominated the US beer market from 1950 – 1980, your only choice was a weak lager! One night sitting at the OBC (Ojai Beverage Company – my hometown purveyor of 700 fine craft ales), amongst the 20 taps I spied something strange – Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale! “Is that beer really Sour?” I queried. Strange but true! I had never even imagined this, but from the first sip I was sold!



One of the cool things about being in a Brew Club – is getting exposed to different styles. When the club style was Berliner Weisse – I struck ot to find some samples to bring to the meeting. I couldn’t find any! After going to Beer Advocate – I learned Dog Fish Head – one of my favorite brewers – made one called Festina Peche. I had seen this at OBC but it sounded a little strange – peach flavored ? But its a deliciously tart beer with a very subtle hint of peach flavor.

Berliner Weisse, a German beer, is typically served with red – raspberry or green – woodruff syrup In German, ”Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Himbeere” and “Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Waldmeister”. Berliner Weisse is a top-fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer made with both traditional warm-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus culture. They have a rapidly vanishing head and a clear, pale golden straw-coloured appearance. The taste is refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, with a lemony-citric fruit sharpness and almost no hop bitterness. Served in wide bulbous stemmed glasses, tourists in Berlin will often order on as a “Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Himbeere” or “Berliner Weisse mit Schuss: Waldmeister”. These are syrups that are added to make the sourness more palatable. Himbeere is raspberry (red) and Waldmeister is woodruff (green).

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