By Iron Chef Leftovers
I have a love/hate relationship with sour beers. When I am in the mood for one, I love them; otherwise, I really want nothing to do with them. They also tend to be very polarizing, people either love them or hate them, there is no middle ground. NW Peaks recently released a Berliner Weisse as part of their Mountainbeers series. What is a Berliner Weisse you ask, well, here is what NW Peaks had to say:
The name. The mountain. As close as its mountainBeer counterpart is to Steven’s pass, Tinkham Mtn is just as close to Snoqualmie pass. Again, just off the PCT, it’s a great place for a good, light summer excursion. The climb is ~ 1,000 feet of easy scrambling (NE route), or a more straight forward, albeit longer, boot pack (SE route). The summit offers great views of the ever popular summits peppering the Snoqualmie area and serves as part of the boundary that surrounds one of Seattle’s 2 major watersheds (the Cedar River watershed).
The Beer. The Berliner Weisse style is even lesser known than the dunkelweiss. Berliner Weisse is a very low ABV, cloudy, sour wheat beer traditionally brewed in Berlin. In many cases, it is served with fruit syrups, cutting some of the sourness with fruity sweetness. Our first sour beer at NW Peaks, we kept the Tinkham Berliner Weisse recipe simple using only Pilsner and Wheat Malts and Hallertau hops. With a slight fruitiness and a charmingly sour aroma, the beer has a light and refreshing body and a tart finish. A great introduction to sours, Tinkham is perfect for sipping on a spring evening or on top of a raspberry syrup/puree.
Malts: Pilsner and Wheat. Hops: Hallertau. ABV: ~2.75%
The beer pours pale yellow in color with notes of lemon and grain dominant on the nose and light sour notes interspersed (kind of reminded me of sour patch kids). Crisp and clean on the initial taste followed by notes of lemon and grain before transitioning into a slightly funky sour finish, not overpowering and pickle-like, but more subtle like a light citric acid. This beer was much easier to drink than most sours and the sour flavor are mild and balanced with the grain, with the mild sour finish being the best part – just enough to let you know this is a sour beer but not so much that you feel like you need to scrape your tongue afterwards. Definitely not a beer that everyone is going to love, but it is a good introduction to sour beers and it also pairs very well with a bit of fruit puree (I personally preferred the beer on its own).
A wonderful first attempt at a sour, NW Peaks Tinkham Berliner Weisse cuts through the blockade and drops in 4 airlifts out of 5.