Review: Hottenroth (Berliner Weisse), The Bruery

The Bruery — Placentia, CA

  • Style:  Berliner Weisse
  • Bitterness:  2 IBU
  • ABV:  3.1%
  • Malts:  Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  750 ml bottle

Description: "Hottenroth Berliner Weisse is brewed in memory of Fred and Sarah Hottenroth, Patrick's grandparents. This tart German-style Berliner Weisse is as authentic as it gets. We used lactobacillus and a hint of brettanomyces to sour this very unusual, low gravity wheat beer. To cut the tartness for those with sweeter tastes, raspberry or woodruff syrup is a traditional way to sweeten the beer. Almost an extinct style, we hope to revive the Berliner Weisse in memory of two great people." — The Bruery 

Random thoughts:  My favorite beer discovery of 2011 was the Berliner Weiss, a tart German-style ale with a very low alcohol content. I tasted two on the same day at Bailey's GermanFest. In Germany, this style is typically served with a fruit syrup. I've tried the syrups, but prefer not to use them. I thought it would be fitting to close out 2011 with a Berliner Weisse, so I added Hottenroth to my list of special holiday beer treats. This is the first Bruery beer I've profiled. 

The tasting:  Light golden in color, clear (but cloudy towards the end, due to unsettled yeast), with a white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Light effervescence is visible. Aroma of wheat, hay, lemon citrus, and grassy hops. Flavor similar to the aroma with the addition of bready malt. It's tart, but not sour, and acidity is low. It has no bitterness and little sweetness. Alcohol is not noticeable in aroma or flavor. Hottenroth is light bodied, highly carbonated, and has a soft prickly mouth feel. It reminds me of champagne. It finishes dry with bready malt and tangy wheat. It's light, refreshing, and very drinkable. I polished off the bottle by myself!

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again! Hottenroth won a silver medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival (in the German-Style Sour Ale category), so I expect it's an excellent representative of the Berliner Weisse style. Personally, I would have preferred a touch more tartness. There aren't an abundance of Berliner Weisse beers on the market, and the few that I'm aware of are summer seasonals. If you'd like to try the style or want an introduction to the world of wild/sour ales, Hottenroth is a great place to begin! Plus, its champagne-like qualities make it an excellent choice for your New Year's Eve celebrations. The low 3.1% ABV is a benefit as well!

Have you tried Hottenroth? What are you favorite Berliner Weiss beers? Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year! Cheers!

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