Summer is coming to an end and I decided to finish my “Beers of Summer tastings” with Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse, a Berlin-style White beer.
As one might not suspect from the name, the Berliner Weisse is originally not from Germany’s capital but was developed in the 17th century in Saxony-Anhalt by a Halberstadt brewer as a unsuccessful copy of a popular beer from Hamburg. Berlin brewers took this new recipe and continually changed it until it had developed into “Berliner Weizenbier” around 1700 and the obscure style quickly became the favorite drink for Berlin locals.
The name Weisse actually means white not wheat and has precious little to do with the known wheat beers from Bavaria! Although both beers are brewed with wheat malt and mainly fermented with top-fermenting yeasts, the Berliner Weisse is different to all other German beer-styles due to its acidic nature. This characteristic develops during fermentation with a mixed-culture of the top-fermenting yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
The acid, a higher carbonation and a low alcohol content make the Berliner Weisse Germany’s most refreshing beer style which is especially enjoyed during the summer months.
Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse is brewed in Düsseldorf and is, with its 4.4 % ABV, slightly stronger than a traditional Berliner Weisse. Instead of adding syrup after fermentation rhubarb puree was already added during the brewing process.
Already when pouring you can see the beers nice pale yellow color and, not as might be expected, a pink coloring. The pale, large, white head has large pores and fades within a few minutes.
The aroma is clean, fruity-fresh and there is a fine citric-acid and a little lactic-acid with notes of ripened cheese or sour dough and some fresh mandarins.
There’s a delicate raspberry flavor in the first sip. The fruity flavors merge with the light wheat taste. Lactic acid contributes to a discreet hay aroma, which is not too aggressive. Then the fruity rhubarb flavor comes to the fore, giving the Weisse a harsh, dry but still fruity finish. The mouthfeel is pleasantly tangy and makes the beer fresh as it should be.
For the current fluctuating temperatures Onkel Herbert Rhabarber Weisse is just ideal to drink – although I can always recommend as a refreshing Berliner Weisse year round!! The taste is (especially without added syrup) certainly something that probably many need getting used to but one should at least have tried once or twice.
In this sense: Cheers!