On these hot July afternoons, you need a cold beer in your hand. Lately, we’ve been turning to bubbly, refreshing, easy-drinking Berliner Weisse to get the job done. The brew is light in color, quite effervescent, low in alcohol, and, thanks to the presence of Lactobacillus (the probiotic good bacteria responsible for the tang in sour beers), slightly sour. The traditionally top-fermented, cloudy wheat beer offers a flavor profile that’s complex, but a bit more subdued and quaffable than your typical sour. Here are five versions to try this summer:
Berliner Weiss: Crabtree Brewing Company, Greeley
Perhaps the best place to start with Berliner Weisse is with a Great American Beer Festival gold medalist. Greeley’s Crabtree Brewing Company perfected its take on this 5 percent ABV Old World German-style brew by lightly infusing it with grapefruit-y Hallertau hops. The slightly bitter sour brew finishes dry, like a Sauvignon Blanc.
Pineapple Berliner Weisse: Fate Brewing Company, Boulder
This light, fruity wheat beer is perfect for long afternoons on the patio. At just 3.3 percent ABV, two of these is about the same as a hefty IPA, booze-wise.
Sonnebahn: Front Range Brewing Company, Lafayette
This Boulder County brewery’s Berliner Weisse is one of its core beers, so if it tickles your fancy, you can still find it after the summer heat lets up. This brew is kettle-soured (a modern process that allows more speedy souring than traditional brewing methods), giving it a sharply tart taste with notes of lemon and peach. It’s very lightly hopped with only 4 IBUs, and it drinks more like a traditional-style Berliner Weiss, despite the modern brewing process used to create it.
Weissbier: Prost Brewing, Denver
OK, so this is technically a south-German-style Hefeweizen. But this crisp wheat beer has the citrusy brightness of a Berliner-style ale and a delightful hint of clove; we think it counts. It clocks in at 12 IBUs, fairly hoppy for a Berliner Weisse, and packs a 4.5 percent ABV.
Tropical Itch: Evil Twin, Denmark/United States
This specialty brewer moves around, brewing at a handful of facilities around the world without a conventional home base. Luckily, you can find its cult-followed bombers at specialty liquor stores across the metro area. The 4.5 percent ABV Tropical Itch carries a hint of Saison-like must and a heavy scent of passion fruit, making it perfect for lazy summer evenings.