Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Black Berlinerweiss

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitle8dWhat can I say, I am sucker for sour beers.  Mind you I do have my limits – if it tastes like you make pickles, I really don’t enjoy that flavor in my beer. Give me something with a hint of tartness and some complexity beyond that and I can almost guarantee that you will get me to try it. NW Peaks is back at it with their berlinerweiss, this time putting out a black version of the classic German sour, which is truly something that I had not seen before. I was excited to try it, but it meant that I was going to have to find some other folks to drink the beer with me, since my regular Mountainbeer friends are not much in the way of sour drinkers. Luckily, I know a couple beer people who were happy to share.

Unfortunately, NW Peaks didn’t put anything on their website describing the beer, but it I do remember it being something really low in alcohol (somewhere in the 3-4% range).

The beer pours light brown in color with a very light head and shows a complex nose – chocolate and roast are there without being dominating, coupled with notes of sour cherry and (surprisingly) some light notes of raisin make an appearance. All of this is supported with a tinge of floral barnyard character. The beer drinks light also, hints of roast and chocolate start before quickly yielding to a pleasantly mild sour component with hints of dried stone fruit that linger nicely before being joined at the end by light chocolate. The finish is dry and pleasant and the sour is balanced with the roast, making the beer surprisingly complex for both a small beer and a sour beer. There is an almost lightly gritty quality to the beer, giving it a very rustic quality.

If you don’t like sours, you probably won’t like this one, no matter how mild it is, but if you want to try something that is different without being completely bizarre, go for this. NW Peaks serves it in their taproom with a shot of raspberry syrup which does take the edge off the beer, but I honestly think that this one is better and much more interesting on its own without the syrup.

NW Peaks Black Berlinerweiss circles the city with a perfect 5 Alexanderplatz out of 5.

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