After high school I spent a year in Germany as an exchange student. Although I was nowhere near Berlin, I quickly learned about Berliner weisse. It was one of my greatest pleasures to spend afternoons sitting outside at a café sipping Berliner weisse with raspberry syrup. It was great with those incredible German “kuchen” and “torten” that I still crave to this day. Oh, to have someplace like Café Lutz in the Twin Cities!
Berliner weisse nearly died out in Berlin. I believe there may be only one brewery still making the stuff there. But it’s seeing a re-birth over here. Along with Gose and Grätzer it’s part of a trend to revive extinct or nearly extinct beer styles. Right now seem to be boom-times for Berliner weisse in Minnesota. Schell’s just released Star of the North a few weeks ago. In Roseville, Pour Decisions Brewing Company has been putting out their own version called Acerbity on an off-and-on basis since they opened. Pour Decisions brewer and co-owner Kristen England is well-known in homebrew circles for his Berliner weisse. It’s won a ton of awards, and rightfully so. I first tasted it years ago while judging some competition or other. It was great then. It’s still great now.
Tomorrow (Saturday, July 27th) they are releasing a chardonnay-barrel aged version of Acerbity called Verity. I got the chance to taste some. Here’s my notes:
Aroma: Loads of lactic acidity and barnyard funkiness. Vinous. Some bready wheat malt aromas still survive underneath. Deep smells of ripe fruits – ripe pears and pineapple. Creamy vanilla.
Appearance: Light golden with a slight haze. Full and fluffy, mousse-like, white head that is very persistent.
Flavor: Lactic acidity leads it in – freshly sliced lemons. Brettanomyces derived leather and dirt usher it out. The pear notes make their way from the smell to the taste, accompanied by newly-arrived, crisp, green apples. The finish hints at vanilla as well. Subtle wheat brings some sweet balance to the profile. There is no bitterness here, nor any hop flavor.
Mouthfeel: Light body and spritzy carbonation. Puckering.
Overall Impression: A beautiful blend of sunny acidity and earthy funk. I love the touch of vanilla complexity brought by the wine-barrel aging. It’s delightfully light and refreshing, but there is a lot to pay attention to as well. Another great Minnesota-made Berliner weisse. Another great beer from a brewery that, in my opinion, doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.