Beer History - Berliner Weisse
Here at Half Door we are excited about the wide variety of beer styles and would like to share a brief history of some of our favorites. This should help you better understand the history and origins of our core beers that we will be brewing. For the first installment, we decided to go with a personal favorite, Berliner Weisse.
Napoleon is rumored to have called it the "Champagne of the North" Berliner Weisse is a sour, cloudy, tart, wheat ale known for its refreshing taste. Berliner Weisse has a low alcohol percentage making it a Schankbier or session beer, good for summer days and hotter climates. In Berlin it is taken with a syrup, either a green or red (woodruff or raspberry flavor) this adds a sweetness to the beer which hasn't quite followed to the American market.
Berliner Weisse dates back to the 16th century where a Berlin brewer named Cord Broihan tried a variation in Hamburg and reproduced his own version called Halberstädter Broihan in Berlin. It grew in popularity with over 700 breweries producing Berliner Weisse in the 19th century.
Breweries today typically make Berliner Weisse with around 30% wheat, which would have been much greater historically, and use a secondary fermentation to create the sour taste. Lactobacillus is the bacteria often used in the second fermentation, replacing the traditional bottle fermentation.
We in San Diego have come to enjoy Berliner Weisse for the same reasons the Germans did on a hot day. Refreshing and lower in alcohol it is the perfect day time beer to watch the game or barbeque. Half Door is excited to put our own twist on this traditional German ale. We will pitch our lactobacillus until the desired sourness is reached then boil the wort cool and finally pitch yeast to ferment the beer. We love to see the beer evolve and at the same time keep its history and its past.