Style: American Weisse Brewed with Strawberries
From: Hampton, NH
Brewery’s Note: “What more is there to say? A short weisse brewed with strawberries. Strawberry Short Weisse is a recreation of the first berliner-style wheat beer we brewed back in 2008. The beer ninjas at Smuttlabs use two different microbes, lactobacillus and brewer’s yeast, to create a low-alcohol, tart wheat beer. In the German tradition, these beers would be packaged and served as is, while drinkers in bars and restaurants would be given the option of a shot of flavored syrup to cut the tartness and add another dimension of flavor. In the US, traditional berliner weisse service is pretty scarce, so we’ve infuse our versions of the style with fruit in the brewery, streamlining the process for those of you playing along at home.”
The beer pours like pale, yellow pond water with blood in it… or like raspberry lemonade, if you like that description better. It forms a small head of eggshell white bubbles, which quickly fizzle to just a ring around the glass. In body, the beer is an opaque, cloudy murk, as is proper in the style. A chalky whiteness in the coloring of the beer definitely distinguishes it as a lacto-ed wheat beer. On the nose, the beer smells of crisp, fresh picked strawberries and plastic. The strawberries are not jammy, but snappy and fresh, which I really like. The plastic is reminiscent of Strawbarb Short Weisse, which, all-in-all, suggests styrene in the beer. The plastic is, thankfully, the less dominant player in the nose, and the strawberry scent is really quite beautiful. Subtle, chalky lemon-lacto scents also mingle with the strawberry, giving the beer a clean, refreshing burst. On the tongue, the beer tastes of above average tartness, which mingles with berry acidity, and then is nicely mellowed by a wheat bread-sweetness in the finish and aftertaste. Plastic flavors subtly haunt the end of the sip. In flavor, the beer tastes like strawberry lemonade and wheat bread, with just a hint of plastic. Bright, tart lemon juice splashes the tongue on the beginning, transitioning into fresh, light strawberry juice with subtle styrene. These flavors transition into a wheat flake finish with nice bread character to balance out the early acidity, while still allowing the beer to pop and taste crisp and clean. In the mouth, the beer is thin in body, with a crisp, effervescent mouthfeel that is helped along by the above average carbonation. With the finish, the beer’s physical presence quickly slips away, while the flavor has great retention. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left relatively neutral, save for the acid-cancelling spittle welling from the cheeks, a slight pucker on the tongue, and the ‘brightness’ that the beer leaves on the palate. Overall, this is a nice refreshing American weisse with great fresh strawberry character. The styrene is a little disappointing, and I hope is held in check as Smuttlabs continues its Short Weisse series, but overall this is a delicious summer crusher… They should have released this during the summer! Good beer, though, and a nice intro sour to the baby palates of New Hampshire, who are just waiting to up their game.