Champagne of the South
Berliner Weiße. Berliner Weiße. Berliner Weiße.
Many of you have probably heard that one of Creature Comforts’ four core beers is going to be a Berliner Weiße. This is a more obscure German-style beer, so we figured we’d write a quick note about it.
Weisse is german for “White”
When most people hear the word “Weisse” (which means “white” in German), they typically think of a Weissbier or Hefeweizen, which are German wheat beers that contain fermentation by-products such as 1) esters, which lend to fruity flavors and aromas and 2) isoamyl acetate, reminiscent of bananas, and 3) the phenolic compound guaiacol, which smells and tastes like cloves. These flavors and aromas are produced by the special type of yeast, rather than the high fraction of wheat in the grain bill.
It has a clean, dry, crisp flavor and aroma.
Berliner Weisse doesn’t use the same yeast strains as Weissbiers and Hefes. Instead it uses more neutral yeast strains that produce a cleaner, drier, crisp flavor and aroma. The unique character of the beer is introduced by the use of Lactobacillus, an interesting organism that is known for its rapid fermentation in dairy produce, producing all the required acidity for yogurt. Similarly, in Berliner Weisse (and other beer styles), Lactobacillus is used to lower the pH and create acidity (sourness). A Berliner Weisse is refreshing, gently tart, with a multi-faceted complexity, lemony-citric fruit sharpness and thirst-quenching character. There is almost no hop bitterness. We’ve even heard some call it “adult lemonade.” Creature Comforts’ Berliner Weisse will be around 4.5% ABV.
In Berlin they drink it through a straw.
People in Berlin often use raspberry and woodruff syrup to reduce the acidity in the beer – but many folks this side of the pond think it’s better without syrup. Berliners also tend to drink the beer through a straw. Creature Comforts plans on offering its own syrups and working with chefs at local restaurants to design unique syrups that will be offered with our Berliner Weisse.
Beyond the Berliner Weisse, Creature Comforts plans on producing a variety of other sour beers. The unique and complex flavors of sour beers sometimes take up to several years to create. We look forward to this funky journey!
A QUICK HISTORY OF BERLINER WEISSE
Berliner Weisse is a regional beer from Northern Germany, mainly Berlin, dating back to the 16th century. By the 1800s, it was the most popular alcoholic drink in Berlin and ~700 breweries produced it. By the late 1900s, there were only two breweries left in Berlin producing the beer. Creature Comforts has joined the recent revival of this amazingly complex, delicious style of beer.
An interesting story is that when Napolean occupied Berlin in 1809, he dubbed Berliner Weisse the “Champagne of the North.” More down-to-earth Berliners called it “the workers’ sparkling wine.” At Creature Comforts, we like to call it “Champagne of the South.”