Berliner Weissbier (Bear-leeh-nuh Vice-beer), is German for “Berlin White Beer” and is a regional variation originating from Northern Germany. These beers can be made from a mixture of barley and wheat malt which result in a cloudy, sour, white beer with an ABV range of about 2 - 5%. Modern brewing methods use a low percentage of pale malted wheat, varying from 25% to 50% and purposefully create the distinct and unique sour taste by either adding lactic acid bacteria or allowing a second fermentation to occur after bottling.
This style beer has been given Protected Geographical Indication within the EU, meaning the name Berliner Weisse can only be applied to beers that are brewed in Berlin. However, there are numerous American and Canadian brewers who brew similar style beers and are able to use the Berliner Weisse label. Today there is just one brewery in Berlin, the Schultheiss Brewery, who still produces this local specialty brew.
Berliner Weisse has a short-lived head and typically has a clear, pale golden hue. The sourness of the beer is accompanied by refreshing lemony-citric fruit flavors and has an effervescent, spritzy quality with almost no hop bitterness. It is usually served in a wide bowl-snapped glass with the option of adding flavored syrups, such as raspberry or woodruff, in order to balance out the sourness. The addition of the syrups causes the color of the beer to change to a red or green hue and because of this, Berliners often order by asking for a “red” (raspberry) or “green” (woodruff) Weissbier. The ideal temperature for a Berliner Weisse is between 46 - 50ºF.
One of the Craft Beer Club features from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House is their Divergent Sour Ale. It embraces the symbol of change and challenges the norm with brilliant, crisp, and complex flavors that are unique to a Berliner Weissbier.