Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Beers Of London Series: 60. Brew By Numbers 04|01 Berliner Weisse 3.7%

Beers Of London Series
60. Brew By Numbers - 04|01 Berliner Weisse 3.7%

So I find myself reviewing my sixtieth London beer so I thought I'd make it something that I had been saving for just such an occasion, Brew By Numbers Berliner Weisse, the first beer in that style that I've tasted in this series.

I've previously reviewed two of their beers, 01|01 Saison Citra and 01|02 Saison Amarillo & Orange, back in April when they were generating quite a bit of interest, but then it all seemed to go quiet over the summer. Apart from hearing that they had gone on holiday from the good people at Utobeer there was nothing but a whisper, rumour and hearsay. Luckily for us it was because they were moving premises, from a flat on the Southwark Bridge Road a lovely large location under the railway arches (yes, it's another underneath-the-arches brewery) on Enid Street in Bermondsey. They are now back brewing again, from what I gather, and the brewery is, or will be open on Saturdays so that you can buy directly from them.

Onto the beer. Berliner Weisse is a sour wheat beer originating from the area around Berlin in Northern Germany. The style can be traced back to the sixteenth century, but in modern versions brewers deliberately create the sourness with the addition of Lactobacillus at the secondary fermentation stage in the bottle. If ordering this beer in Germany you must be very clear that you want it plain as it will more often that not have raspberry or woodruff flavour syrups or even pale lager added to it to counteract the sourness. I will of course be having mine as the brewer intended, poured straight from the bottle. I've chosen a glass that mimics the bowl-shaped glasses that it is traditionally served in to a certain degree but with a lip so that the aroma is retained, and although this beer has a best before date of February 2016 I hope that the flavours will have evolved a little since it was bottled on 5th February this year (2013).

It pours a hazy pale yellow and it's really rather lively with a steady stream of bubbles rising quickly to the surface to form a beautifully tight bright white head. It has an aroma akin to a good quality dry cider, not sweet at all but more like freshly pulped apple skins, quite tart and a little dusty. Surprisingly gentle over the tongue given its high level of carbonation in the glass there is the faintest tickle as it is swallowed. There's more than a hint of lemon at first but this quite quickly evolves into a soft dry apple juice flavour with a tangy tartness around the edges of the tongue, I'm certainly not detecting the high level of sourness I was expecting. The finish is long dry and refreshing and it is here that that gorgeous apple sweetness that it was promising finally manifests itself but it's not like apple juice that you might pour from a carton, it's that trickle of juice that flows down your chin when you bite into a freshly picked apple.

This is a truly delightful beer. It may well have been more sour when it was first bottled but any edginess it may have had has softened a little over the last eight months, almost as if its corners have been rounded off, and it has developed into a thing of beauty. I don't know how there a many bottles of this beer (or its bigger brother, the 04|02) there are out there, but if you can track one down then I suggest now would be a perfect time to drink it. I certainly hope they brew it again, and I hope to visit there new premises in the not too distant future as even though I stocked up on their beer in the Spring, they're not going to last for ever.

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