Tarting it Up!

Jim Lundstrom

It was not many moons ago when Berliner Weisse was a much-rumored but rarely seen beer. When I finally got a taste of a true Berliner Weisse from Berlin, I was in love with its tart, dry, effervescence. It was so stupendously different from any other beer I’d ever tasted.

But that was in another century when the craft beer evolution/revolution was still in its infancy. Today, it’s easy to find Berliner Wiesse-style beers, and one I recently found is an interesting example of the style.

Collective Arts Brewing of Hamilton, Canada, is the maker of Berliner-Style Ale Brewed with Lime & Ginger. Yes, that is an exceptionally long name for this very tasty and refreshing beer. The word”style” must be added because the name is protected in Berlin.

The ginger is subtle, offering a warm counterpoint to the tartness of the style, which is enhanced by the final tart bart of lime at the finish.

As is typical with this low-alcohol style, this beer is 4.4 percent alcohol, which, actually is on the higher end. Some are as low as 2.5 percent. The color is very light, a slightly hazy straw color. The original style was reportedly dubbed by Napoleon’s troops in the 1800s as the “champagne of the north.”  

In Germany Berliner Weisse’s tartness is tamed by what is known as “schuss,” or a shot, of syrup, either red (raspberry) or green (wintergreen). As with this offering from Collective Arts, North American brewers of Berliner Weisse often introduce the fruits and/or flavors into the brewing process.

But a straight-up tart BW is OK with me, too.

While this particular beer has added flavors, they do not overwhelm the enticing tartness. Collective Arts has yet to let me down with their beers.