JBU > Intermediate

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.

Beer Styles 201: Berliner Weisse

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 Styles 201: Gruit Beer

Beer Styles 201: Gose

Beer Styles 201: Wheat Beer

Beer Styles 201: India Pale Ales

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