This past Wednesday the Wisconsin Brewing Company
loosed a small batch of Berliner Weisse into the wild as part of their Forward! series. My understanding is that these brews are released and then feedback is solicited with the possibility that one of these test brews may make it to the big time and hit store shelves and tavern taps.
I am not sure who brews these beers and wouldn't be at all surprised if they are made by brewmaster Kirby Nelson's minions. Just look at WBC's partnership
with the UW-Madison's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the fact that Blister in the Sun
was concocted by the minion known as Clint Lohman. The brewery has a reputation for working with people new to the trade and allowing them to show off their chops.
The Forward! series has come up with a few beers these past two or three months that have interested me and this trend looks to continue into over the coming weeks. And so once more unto the breach…
Berliner Weisse poured a light yellow hue and was quite cloudy. There was about an inch of loose, white foam atop the glass that lasted just shy of a minute. There was a fair number of bubbles in the bier but not exactly what one would expect from the "Champagne of the North".
The aroma was puzzling because there wasn't much of one beyond a very faint citrus smell from the lactic sour. I encountered this same phenomenon last month with WBC's Czech pils
that was devoid of scent just like Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. Perhaps there is some kind of olfactory quirk at play here. Breweries smell like, well, breweries – they smell like malt in hot water. Maybe one's nose becomes desensitized to certain beer smells if you are standing in a room with the aromas of the brewing process swirling and eddying around you. Still, I would think that hops and lactic acid smells would still be discernible even if more delicate malty ones were not. Do the Germans have a lengthy word for this kind of thing?
Upon tasting I noticed that there wasn't a whole lot of carbonation. Not too surprising given the relative paucity of bubbles. The tartness was middle of the road, although I don't mean that in a pejorative sense as when discussing rock music. There was some lemony citrus taste to the sour and I was surprised at how full the wheat flavor was.
At the finish the taste of the wheat lingered along with a mild lactic tartness. There was no Schaumhaftvermoegen
While it may not rank with the greatest Berliner Weisses ever made, this bier was pretty tasty. It wasn't mega-knock-your-socks-off tart but neither was the sour so faint as to approach homeopathic strength. My preference is for a tad more tartness but I cannot complain as it had a nice, mildly acidic taste. However I will complain that the bier was short on citrus. I wish it had a little more of that lacto-lemon flavor. Oh, and more carbonation too. On the other hand, I enjoyed the wheat flavor quite a bit.
Whatever the flaws, it still made for a tasty and refreshing on a hot summer day. It comes in at 3.8% A.B.V., by the way, and the brewery has raspberry and woodruff syrups available for those wanting a shot of sweetness.
Junk food pairing: I thoroughly enjoyed the jalapeño white cheddar popcorn we had while quaffing our Berliner Weisses. The salt enhanced the sour which was complemented by the mild chili flavor.
Labels: Beer, Berliner Weisse, Wisconsin Brewing Company