Yet another Berliner Weisse. They just keep-a comin' and I can tell you there are still more in my basement. I am going to have to hurry because the time for light, fizzy, tart wheat beers is slowly coming to a close. In just a few days we're looking at lows in the 50's – that's 10-12°C, for you metric folks – which means it's almost time to switch to stouter brews in anticipation of the leaves turning and the onset of winter.
This time we have Counter ClockWeisse from Destihl, an installment in their Wild Sour
series. Destihl hails from Bloomington, Illinois and I am fairly certain that I'd managed to avoid their beer until this summer when some of their cans caught my eye. This shouldn't be taken as discourtesy towards the brewery but rather it's the case that it has just flown under my radar. I suppose they don't have a reputation one way or another other that has really grabbed my attention. But now Destihl has it.
Counter ClockWeisse pours a moderate deep yellow and is surprisingly clear. Destihl took the appellation for the style, "Champagne of the North", to heart. My pour produced a big, pillowy white head that stuck around for a while. And there were bubbles galore going up the beer. A lovely brew, bright and sparkling – the complete opposite of the cloudy day I drank it.
As expected, a lemony tartness took pride of place on the nose with its attendant acidity. There was also some bread to be had and what I took to be saltiness. It was very odd to smell this last aroma. Not bad, by any means, but quite unexpected. Taking my first sip I was reminded of the first time I'd ever tasted a Berliner Weisse. This stuff was sour. Not just sour, but eye-closing, lip-puckering, sour. I thought that this is probably how a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster tastes. This was likely the most sour Berliner Weisse I've ever tasted. The tartness was a bit less lemony on the tongue than on the nose with the flavor being more generically citrus than a specific fruit. After a couple of sips the sour remained potent but my palate recovered a bit and was able to discern the fizziness and dryness from the carbonation as well as salinity and some grain.
Neck and neck with the salinity for the title of most curious flavor was a sweetness that was vaguely fruity but also a bit malty. This is a light-bodied beer and only 3% A.B.V. so the sweetness was surely a product of bacteria. Destihl says that it the beer undergoes "unique, spontaneous wild yeast and lactic fermentation". It was very peculiar. Tasty, but peculiar. This sweet flavor carried into the finish which also had some dryness from the carbonation plus a lingering citrus tartness. My glass was left with no Schaumhaftvermoegen.
Counter ClockWeisse has much that helps it stand out in the crowd. It's highly intense tartness, a curious salinity, and an unexpected sweetness all render it a unique entry in the world of the Berliner Weisse. I would also add the lack of hops in the finish. Normally a bit of spicy hop goodness can be had in the finish but I could discern none here. Overall I enjoyed Counter ClockWeisse. I really liked the sweet'n'salty thing against a backdrop of massive tartness. I do offer the caveat that this beer was basically my upper limit of sourness. With most Berliner Weisses I've had, you get an initial blast of sour that mellows as you drink to nicely tart. Here you get a sour flood of Biblical proportions which mellows to mere Three Mile Island overload.
Junk food pairing: Pair Counter ClockWeisse with cracklin. If you cannot get your hands on any, go for a big bag of pork rinds. Sit back and let the beer fight it out with the porky fat goodness on your tongue.
Labels: Beer, Berliner Weisse, Destihl Brewery