Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Tasting Notes: Raspberry Berlinerweisse

Last Saturday was Zwanze Day 2014, and after missing it in 2013 this year I finally made it to the celebration at West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago.  I haven't been to many beer events before, and even though I find certain aspects of American beer culture a bit strange and alienating this festival was really fun.  The Cantillon beers were a rare treat (I've never been able to find any on the shelves here), and all very enjoyable.  I also got to try my first beer from Hill Farmstead, Society and Solitude #7---even for someone who doesn't get all that excited about double IPAs, that beer was a real standout.  But one nice thing about being a bit at odds with beer geek culture is that the beers I enjoyed most stayed on tap the longest.  As people went up for the rarer/stronger stuff,  I had glass after glass of Taras Boulba (probably the freshest I've ever had) and this really tasty lager from Amager Bryghus.  I would happily have stayed all day, but we had to leave mid-afternoon to find some food and ended up nipping in to Goose Island Clybourn to see what they had on cask.

Anyway, to mark the occasion, here are some tasting notes for the portion of the no-boil sour that I aged on raspberries (a lambic would have been more appropriate I suppose, but I don't have any bottled homebrew efforts yet).

Raspberry Berlinerweisse
Appearance: Brilliant pink colour---my photo doesn't do it justice.  One of the most striking beers I've brewed.  Billowing head recedes to a thin but persistent cap.

Smell:  Jammy raspberries, but also seeded multi-grain bread.  The seed smell is really distinctive---its almost certainly from the raspberry seeds, but reminds me of a particular bread I used to get from a supermarket back in England.

Taste: Tart up front, followed by more bread and ending with an aftertaste of raspberries,  Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Effervescent, prickly carbonation overcomes any thinness in the body.

Drinkability & Notes:  Very happy with how this one turned out.  Its super drinkable and refreshing, nicely tart but with a bit of complexity as well.  J thinks its one of the best beers I've brewed, but really I think a lot of the credit goes to the delicious raspberries I used from Klug Farms.  They tasted so good that I had second thoughts about putting them in a beer, but I'm glad I stuck with my original plan.  Between this and my blackcurrant berliner, berries seem to be a good complement for this kind of sour beer.

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