Fearful Symmetries

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07 March, 2016

She drank a raspberry Berliner Weisse: Framboise Du Nord by August Schell Brewing Co.



The kind you find in a liquor store

Today I am going continue drinking my way through the Noble Star series of Berliner Weisses from Minnesota's venerable Schell Brewery. I began with Apparent Horizon the latest in the series as I type. Framboise Du Nord or "Raspberry of the North", is the second in the series but I'm getting all timey-wimey so it is next on the docket. My bottle was filled back in October 2013 and I am hoping it survived the past couple years in my cellar more or less intact.

Framboise Du Nord is 3.7% A.B.V. which I believe was the same strength as the initial brew in the series, a plain Berliner Weisse, and now considered average for the style although the bier has been historically brewed to a variety of strengths. The use of raspberries is an inspired choice. Not only are they very tasty but they are also one of the two common flavors of syrup traditionally put into Berliner Weisse with the other being woodruff. Schell boasts that 5,000 pounds of raspberries were used while the bier aged in the heritage cypress lagering tanks for a few months.

Framboise Du Nord comes in a lovely, well, raspberry red that has a slight brown tint to it. It was just a touch hazy. My initial pour produced a rather small pink head that went away quite quickly. As befitting a "champagne of the north", however, there were lots of bubbles in the bier making their way up.

As I was trying to take a decent enough photograph for this post I could smell the raspberries. Framboise Du Nord positively emanated clouds of fresh raspberry goodness. Underneath this was the expected lemony lacto tartness. The bier smelled like summer in a glass – it was absolutely wonderful.

For better or for worse, I've developed a habit of holding my first sip in my mouth so that it sits on my tongue as well as keeps at least part of the roof of my mouth covered. I think this really brings out the carbonation and made the first sip of Framboise Du Nord a big, bubbly, tart, in-your-face fruity explosion. I could feel the carbonation tingle while that lemony lacto sour melded with the tartness from the raspberries. The fruit here tasted fresh and juicy despite the bier's age and the lacto sour did not let up very much as I worked my way through the bottle.

As a Cheesehead it's difficult not to think of New Glarus' Raspberry Tart here. It too comes in a big green bottle, has a similar color to Framboise Du Nord, and they are both sour brews. But Raspberry Tart has a bit of sweetness that Framboise Du Nord does not. It's also a bit heavier than its neighbor from Minnesota too.

Framboise Du Nord finishes with raspberry tartness and lactic acid sourness lingering long after the your sip has found its home in your belly. As per usual with the Berliner Weisse, there was no Schaumhaftvermoegen to be had.

I drank this bier after coming in from shoveling snow and made fairly quick work of the bottle. Admittedly, there were a few sips that turned into thirst quenching gulps but I think I gave this bier a fair shot. And I loved it. It was light, fizzy, and bursted with the taste and smell of fresh raspberry. Plus it had a great mix of berry tartness and lacto sour which was big yet not overwhelming. It was dry and acidic but, again, not to an extreme. As it warmed, the bier revealed a little bit of that rode hard and put away wet brett funk but it accented rather than dominated the flavor.

Junk food pairing: If you have some Framboise Du Nord squirreled away, I recommend busting it open and eating some Crunchy Flamin' Hot Limón Cheetos.

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|| Palmer, 9:10 AM

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