Four Winds: Berliner Weisse (Canada: Berliner Weisse: 3.2% ABV)
Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Thin off white head.
Nose: Tart apples, in an almost cider fashion. Raspberries. Lemon juice and dried dates.
Body: Apricot. Lemon juice. Slight vanilla and ice cream. Syrup sweetness. Raspberry sharpness. Cider and lychee.
Finish: Stewed apricot. Tart raspberries. Dry wine mouthfeel. Light lime. Lychee.
Conclusion: This is proper lovely. I’ve got used to the tart berliner weisse style over the years and been rewarded for it, but despite that it is nice to find one so easy to get into.
The tartness is there, but delivered so softly that it refreshes rather than punishes, and then pushes the soft stewed fruit so that the fruit and sweetness just rises to fill your mouth. Then, as that vanishes slowly a white wine finish rises to meet it. While not the most dominant element, it is the soft fruit lychee character that seems to define this beer best – sweet but fresh.
The beer, metaphorically, just falls apart on the tongue – breaking open the initial tartness and leaving the, again metaphorical, piñata worth of sweet fruits to fall out. I wonder if that analogy actually makes sense. Nay bother. I’m sure my regular readers are used to me making no sense whatsoever.
This is a genuinely great berliner weisse, and it feels like it would be heresy to add syrups to it to sweeten it, as is often the tradition, it just stands perfectly by itself. A proper tart fruit juice meets berliner weisse experience, and at a perfect abv to drink for a warm day. So, another of those hard to find perfect summer session beers.
Well worth it and a fine welcome to Vancouver.
Background: Drunk at the Alibi Room in Vancouver which has a great set of taps and is deeply involved in the local craft beer scene. Awesome place, they even leant me a pen when I realised I had left mine at the hotel so would have problems doing notes. Notably this was my first encounter with sour beers on the trip, Vancouver seemed much more experimental in its beer scene than most of the places I had visited. It was a very hot day so a low abv, sour and thirst quenching beer seemed a good pick to go for an opening choice.