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Monday, June 23, 2014

New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Berliner Wiess

  • Style: Berliner Weiss
  • ABV: It's New Glarus.  A close guess is the best I've got for you.  And I'm thinking of a number between 3% & 4%I'll let the math geeks out there figure it out.
  • Ease to locate: Again, it's New Glarus.  Easy enough to find in WI.  But so are Packer fans.  One is definitely preferable over the other,.
  • Color: Hazy golden yellow with soft orange tones & visible carbonation
  • Head: Generous 2 fingers of pure white, fluffy foam leaving clumps of creeping lacing
  • Aroma: More tart than sour.  Lemon, orange, lime, some wheat grains & a bit of bread yeast sweetness with distinct green grape notes. Slight funk at very end.
  • Mouthfeel: Light body and very dry.  So drinkable on a warm day
  • Finish: Rather short, but not to it's detriment.  Ends with a crispness that prepares you for the next sip.
  • Food friendly: Yes, a million times, YES!  OK, I'll take it down a notch.  Pair this baby with just about any summer meal and you'll be a happy and coherent camper.  I love it with everything from grilled fish to veggie kabobs to simple stir fries.  But my favorite pairings involve pre-dinner appetizers.  Because, let's face it, anything in miniature is just more fun.

Apple Users link: It's not often, but sometimes a remake is just better. Please don't tell Ringo.

                                                         Since this happened at Wookstock, there is the very real possibility that Joe Cocker didn't realize that he was singing a Beatles tune.

Last TV season was the year of the detective.  Between shows like True Detective, Broadchurch and Fargo, my evenings sitting in front of the TV were filled with smart, intriguing characters and well executed plots (not to mention talented actors.  Hell, it even made me a fan of Mathew McConaughey and never in a million years would I have thought that was possible.)    Next year, we start at ground zero again with completely new everything on True Detective and Fargo.  Of course Fargo itself was a remake of a movie without actually remaking anything from the movie.  Dontach know?  And, in the infinite wisdom of TV executives, FOX is remaking the BBC's Broadchurch, naming it Gracepoint and apparently hoping that David Tennent's American accent is enough of a distraction to make viewers forget who the murderer is.  Or isn't.  Or, wait,  I'm sorry.  The adorableness of David Tennent is on my TV weekly again.  What were we talking about again?  New Glarus has jumped on the band wagon and remade their Berliner Weiss.  So right now some places in the great cheese state have 2013 and 2014 bottles on their dusty shelves.  This was a lesson I happened to learn the hard way.  You see, I have a northern interstate connection (read, some guy I talk into bringing me back beer when he drives to Wisconsin) who delivered a four pack of red foiled goodness to my door last month.  I fell in love with NG's Berliner Weiss last summer and eagerly anticipated drinking the hell out of it again this season.  And I was ecstatic when I held that red & white labeled, shiny foiled gem in my grubby little hands.  Until, that is, it was pointed out to me that NG remade their Thumbprint series labels.  No more white backgrounds with red lettering.  No more shiny scarlet foiled caps.   The bottle I held in that grubby little fist was (the horror!) last year's bottle.  But don't worry, I drank it anyway.  I also talked some other guy (who I sent armed with a VERY detailed photo) into buying me a bunch of this year's crop. I can be very persuasive when  New Glarus is involved..

New Glarus' Berliner Weiss 2014 poured a hazy, golden yellow that was high lit with light orange tones around the edges.  It was deliciously juicy looking, with visible carbonation racing to the surface of the glass.  The appearance  was cloudier than I remember the 2013 version being and I don't recall the orange edging.  The huge, fluffy white two finger head was similar to last year's version though.  I loved the clumps of ginormous lacing that crept up the sides of my glass.    The aroma was just about perfect for what I expect from a Berliner.  A tart green grape character mixed it up with citrus notes that included lemon, lime and a bit of orange.  A slight sweetness of cereal grain, some sourness of wheat bread yeast and a ever so light hit of funk balanced out the tart crispness of the nose.  This, this is what I want to sniff on a warm summer's night.  It's also what I want to drink.  The taste reflected the nose perfectly.  In addition to the tart green grapes and bitter citrus elements, there was a note of straw which contributed to the dryness of the wheat beer.  At times I could swear that I tasted a tropical fruit note (pineapple came immediately to mind) but on other swallows, the fruit note was absent.  Maybe it missed the red foil too?  The mouthfeel was light, dry and oh so crushable.  A relatively short finish worked with the beer and not against it because of the inherent crispness of the swallow.  I remember that the 2013 version of this beer enjoyed a longer finish, but I honestly didn't find myself missing it as much as I thought I would.  

Berliner Weiss is the sort of beer that not only goes well with all types of meals, it's the sort of beer that can make an average meal that much better.   Fresh caught (well, not caught by me, so fresh purchased from a reliable fish monger) trout on the grill?  Yep.  Skewers of brightly colored veggies kabobbed in a mob?  Yep.  The crispness and dryness of this year's New Galrus Berliner Weiss will work with a wide array of Summer meals, but my favorite way to enjoy this beer is before the meal actually begins.  Pour a glass and set out a try of appetizers, like Cocktail Meatballs in a Cranberry Chili Sauce or Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella Skewers at your next get together.  Personally I'm planning on serving it with some Fresh Homemade Guacamole this summer.  The tartness and citrus flavors will cut through the guac's creaminess in such a way that I might actually learn to love guacamole as much as everyone else in my family (hey it worked last winter with hockey.  Come to think of it, beer did play a large role in my becoming a former hockey agnostic as well. )  No matter how you plan on drinking it, be sure to grab the Berliner Weiss bottles with the maroon labels on your next trip to cheeseland.  Because red foil is so last year.