Beer Styles 201: Berliner Weisse
Like Berlin itself you either love the eclectic, funky nature or you hate it. This brew is tart and bubbly a combination that is not for everyone, but Berliners and most Germans love it! It may take some getting used to, but we think you’ll love it as well.
By The Beer Community on Nov. 30, 2016
Style Name: Berliner Weisse pronounced “Bear-leeh-nuh Vice-uh”
Substyle Region: Berlin, Germany enjoys legal protection of an appellation d’origine contrôllée like the Kölsch ales of Cologne and the Trappist ales of Belgium.
Appearance: Berliner Weisse is usually made from roughly 25—30% pale malted wheat, but in times past, it may have been made with as much as twice that amount. The rest of the grain is always barley malt—brownish in the old days, but pale Pils-like today. The result is a finished beer with a cloudy, dark-yellowish color.
Flavor & Aroma: Berliner Weisse is a sour, tart, fruity, and refreshing ale.
Palate & Mouthfeel: It is a light-bodied, effervescent, almost spritz-like brew similar to the feel of Champagne (hence it’s nickname “The People’s Champagne”). There is no residual sweetness and a low ABV, which makes it an ideal summer drink.
Food Pairings: Due to it’s light body and tart flavor crispy French Fries or other salty appetizer are a perfect match. Anything smokey or rich are definite NOs because they will overpower this light beer.
Comments: Also known as “Ein Rotes” (a red one), “Ein Grünes” (a green one), “Mit Schuss” (with a shot of sweet syrup), “Champagne of the North,” “The People’s Champagne” or “The Workers’ Sparkling Wine”. Known for it’s very low ABVs of 2.5-2.7%. Berliner Weisse has been brewed in Berlin since the Middle Ages.
Serving Suggestion: It is usually taken with a shot (a “Schuss”) of raspberry syrup or woodruff-flavored syrup to cut the brew’s tartness. Add the shot first and then pour the beer over it. It is best served in a wide-rimmed, bowl-shaped chalice, about twice the size of the bottle, because Berliner Weisse foams like champagne.
Similar Beer Styles: Weissbier
Learn more about beer styles:
Beer Varieties: The Origins (Part Three: Colour)
In this series, we are exploring what characterizes the hundreds of styles of beers that are available. While yeast is the most important determinant of beer style, two of the other main ingredients (hops and malt), and how the beer is brewed, among other things, also play a part. It is these factors that create the inherent qualities of the beer, which formulates each category or style. Part Two looked at how gravities and alcohol by volume (ABV.) are calculated. In Part Three we will explore colour; how it is measured, and how the different colours are assigned.
Beer Varieties: The Origins (Part Four: Bitterness)
In this series, we are looking at what characterises the hundreds of styles of beers that are available. So far we have looked at how gravities and alcohol by volume (ABV.) are calculated, and how colour is measured and named. In this article, we will examine bitterness, the counterbalance to the sweetness from the malt, which is derived mostly from the hops.
Tour of German Beer Styles Part Five: Sour Ales
For hundred of years, the Reinheitsgebot restricted brewing. During this time many local styles disappeared. Recently, German brewers have started producing them again. Among these were many regional and sour ales, specifically Berliner Weisse , Gose and Lichtenhainer.
Cheers to Sour Beers
Sour Beer: A deceptively simple term for a complex style. Is sour beer here to stay or a passing trend? I visited Bricks Wine Co. for the “Cheers to Sour Beers” tasting event with Certified Cicerone, Mike Maxwell, to see what the big deal is about sour beer and find out just what makes a sour beer, well… sour.