For many years I was adamantly opposed to fruit-flavored beers. Part of my hesitancy was definitely due to a belief that beers brewed or infused with fruit were for people who didn’t really like the flavor of beer. Many of the readily available fruit beers supported this assumption, they were light ales with heavy additions of cloying fruit flavors. For many years I refused to even try a beer that was flavored with fruit, with the possible exception of citrus peels that are traditional in a few beer styles. I have started to loosen that stance, and the fruit flavored versions of the Berliner weisse style are a big reason why. The sour acidity from the Berliner mash is a perfect counterpoint to the sweetness added by fruit, and the addition of fruit syrup is actually a very traditional accompaniment to the style. White Birch Brewing Company in New Hampshire brews a few different versions of their popular Berliner Weisse, including one fermented with raspberry puree. Raspberries are my absolute favorite fruit. If I buy a pint it will usually be gone before it makes it into the fridge, so sampling this beer was a no-brainer. White Birch Raspberry Berliner Weisse is available year round on draft, in 22 oz. bombers and in 12 oz. cans.
White Birch Raspberry Berliner Weisse pours a clear red-tinted yellow with a mild white head. The scent is a mixture of tart acidity and a little raspberry. The taste starts with the sourness, distinct and present without being overpowering. The raspberry comes in after, fruity and a little tart perfectly complementing the acidity from the mash without overwhelming the beer. Some wheat malts round out the flavor and add some body. The beer is light and very drinkable at 5.5% ABV. The finish is crisp and tart with just a touch of raspberry flavor. While I am still wary of some fruit beers I think Berliner weisse is an ideal style to mix with fruit flavors, and White Birch demonstrates that point here. The fruit flavor here is a perfect complement to the beer, the final result is complex and flavorful but still light and refreshing. Hoppy Boston score: 4.5/5.
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