I had not, before this summer, even heard of a Berliner Weisse. Mrs Thursday and I, however, found ourselves hungry in downtown Philadelphia a few weeks ago, and upon electing to go to the excellent Nodding Head Pub, I found myself drinking my first BW–their Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse. Shortly thereafter, I came across Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche which, as described my my local beer guru, Matt Guyer, is “Berliner-Weisse, with a little bit of a peach flavor”.
For the uninitiated, a Berliner-Weisse is a light, cloudy, wheat beer that is (surprise, surprise), brewed mainly in and around Berlin, Germany. It is, generally very low in alcohol content–many beers are around 3% alcohol, and possesses a sort of mouth puckering sour taste. The degree of tart will very from beer to beer, obviously.
Dogfish Head, the Delaware purveyors of “extreme” beer, have this to say about their creation:
A refreshing neo-BerlinerWeisse fermented with honest-to-goodness peaches to (get this!) 4.5% abv! Because extreme beers don’t have to be extremely boozy!
I can’t help but wonder how Dogfish Head defines “extreme beer” if Berliner Weisse is included in the category. According to Wikipedia, the style is several hundred years old. Regardless, they’ve made a fine product here.
The 4.5% ABV in their BW is definitely higher than the standard, but it’s lower than most of their other beers, and most craft beers in general. The beer smells tart enough to be called sour, but the taste mellows out in the mouth. The peach comes through on the back of the tongue. The finished product definitely resembles lemonade more closely than Yuengling, but not nearly so sweet. With its light body, and fairly modest alcohol content, as well as its lovely tart flavor, this is about as good as a summer beer as you can find.