Sour – English: Siren Craft Brew Cucumber Calypso

This week’s beer is the Special Cucumber Calypso by Siren Craft Brew. This was a limited beer, but it’s so tasty that it definitely deserves a mention! Cucumber had been added to the beer, and being such a fan of Gherkins (Pickles) it was one I most definitely had to try!

It seems that there’s no description for this one, either as it was a limited release, so lets crack on to the recipe! I think this particular iteration of the brew has Pale Wheat, 2-Row and Vienna Malts in. As for the Hops, they aren’t very detectable, but there is a Citrus undertone so I’d probably go for Centennial or Cascade. After this, because so much Cucumber flavour comes through I’d probably say it’s Dry-Cucumbered during fermentation (that sounds rude). Dry-Cucumbering (had to do it again) is the same as Dry-Hopping, but Cucumbers are used. So during Secondary Fermentation, the Cucumbers are added to the beer.

When your pour this beer, it’s a Cloudy Orange with a Thin to Medium white head. It dissipates slowly leaving a little bit of dotty lacing. Some Yeast clings to the side of the glass as you drink, which is a nice touch reminding you that you’re drinking a Berliner Weiss. On the nose, massive Cucumber aromas, some Brettanomyces and a nice Wheat note on the tail end. I absolutely love Cucumber, so the first time I picked this up just by smelling it I wanted to drink it straight away! On the palate, again big Cucumber notes, Wheat, Sour Funky yeast and some Citrus undertones. The Wheat and Malt backbone of this beer really carries through and allows the Cucumber to come through which is a great touch! It’s medium-bodied, with quite high carbonation. It finishes tart and dry. The regular Calypso is refreshing, but this one takes it to a new level with Cucumber added. Let’s hope Siren brew it again soon!

As this was a limited release, unfortunately it’s all sold out – but you can get the regular Calypso here and I really recommend it!

EST. CALORIES: 120   ABV: 4%

Advertisements

Berliner Weisee – English: Siren I Need A Vacation

This week’s beer is I Need A Vacation, brewed by Reading based Siren Craft Brew. If I could, I’d be knocking back these in the sun whilst on Holiday as Berliner Weisse’s are perfect for warm weather and make a great Spring and Summer brew.

Let’s start with Siren‘s description of the beer:

A beautifully tart Berliner Weisse infused with the taste of a summer vacation. The sweetness of papaya, mango & lime balance perfectly with the lip-puckering sharpness of our Berliner style beer.

Short but sweet description on this one. I’m not sure why the term Vacation is used instead of Holiday but I think Siren have some American staff, so it makes sense if this is one of their creations. Maybe they were hinting at something… Either way, we’re expecting a nice tart beer with hints of Tropical fruits.

First, the malt and mashing process. The malt is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with White Wheat as a fermentable. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops, like all Berliner Weiss Beers are hard to determine. I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in the brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. It’s then fermented with a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation papaya, mango and lime juice are added for 10 days.

The beer pours a Yellow colour with no head. Medium carbonation. On the nose there’s sour pineapple and mango, some wheat and a little bit of that funky Lacto smell. When you drink this beer, the first thing on the palate is sour Tropical Fruit, although the sourness isn’t overwhelming and in my opinion very well done for the style. After this there’s some Wheat notes finishing with a nice Sour Citrus finish, although again it’s not extremely sour. It’s quite full bodied for this style with good medium carbonation, which fades over time. The beer finishes dry. This is probably one of the best Berliner Weisse beers I’ve had for a little while, and I really recommend it regardless of the weather!

Once it’s back in stock, you can buy I Need A Vacation at:

Ales By Mail

Beer Gonzo

Eebria

EST. CALORIES: 135   ABV: 4.5%

Berliner Weisse – English: Buxton Red Raspberry Rye

This Friday’s beer is another Sour, this time made in England by one of my favourite brewers – Buxton. Whilst Wednesday’s beer was a Lambic, this one’s a Berliner Weisse which is one of my favourite styles. It’s also brewed with Rye as one of the fermentables. I originally had this beer on my trip to Buxton, but I enjoyed it so much I purchased a few bottles the next day.

Let’s start with Buxton‘s Description of the beer:

Red Raspberry Rye is a tart Berliner weisse style beer brewed with whole raspberries. This sour fruit beer contains barley, wheat, rye, hops, yeast and raspberries. It contains 100g raspberries per liter. It is soured naturally in the copper for 4 days before boiling.

A very matter of fact description from Buxton, which they are known for. The first time I saw the description it made me really want to try the beer, but it didn’t tell me how it should taste and it didn’t try to “stick it to the man” in big beer. That’s why although clearly from Videos, the Buxton Staff are lively it’s clear when it comes to beer they always concentrate 100% on it.

Let’s start with the malt and mashing process first, the malt in this beer is Pilsen 2-Row malt, with Rye and White Wheat as fermentables. Once mashed in, this is cooled and stored for 4 days to sour the mash. The hops in this beer are hard to determine, but I think Hallertau have been used. Fuggles or similar could just as easily be used in this brew, as this beer is not meant to be hop forward. After this, it’s fermented with quite a clean yeast and during secondary fermentation raspberries are added for 10 days.

This beer pours a deep Red, almost Ruby colour with a quickly dissipating fizzy head leaving no lacing. Usually wheat is great for Head Retention, but in this beer, probably due to the Sugar from the Raspberries. On the nose there’s lots of Sour, almost Fruit Pastille like Raspberry, some Lacto and an underlying Rye Toastyness. This couldn’t smell any different to a Lambic with the same fruit! The taste lived up to the great nose, lots of Sour, Jam like Tart Raspberry, ending with some delicious toasty Rye notes lingering on the Palate. The beer is medium to high carbonated, quite full bodied and finishes medium sweet. I thought that was a beer that was incredibly balanced and I really do recommend it. Make these warmer Spring days that are bound to be few and far between good.

You can buy Red Raspberry Rye in the UK at:

All in stock at time of writing.

Beer Ritz

Mother Kelly’s

Beer Gonzo

EST. CALORIES: 147   ABV: 4.9%

Sours/Berliner Weissebier: Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Peche

To mark the mid-point of August I’ve picked this one. Although the Berliner Weissebier is a German style, I thought I would pick Dogfish Head Festina Pêche beer due to it being a great example of a Berliner Weisse and Sours/This style being very popular in America as of late.

As always, let’s start with Dogfish Head‘s description of the beer:

A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse, Festina Peche is available in 4-packs and on draft during the sweaty months.

Sadly, there are only a few breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style, which is characterized by its intense tartness (some say sour). There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer!

In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic (or green apple-like) character. Served as an apertif or summertime quencher, Festina is delicately hopped and has a pale straw color. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.

In Festina Peche, since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup. Just open and enjoy!

A medium to long description on this one, but Dogfish always like to give a decent description of their beers. Festina Pêche is a seasonal offering from Dogfish and since the release I am talking about in this post apparently the “tart” flavour has been reduced which I think is a shame given the popularity of sour beers in the US at the moment.

After tasting this beer and doing some research, I think the grains used in this are Castle Château Pilsen 2-Row for the malted barley and Rahr White Wheat for the wheat part. This is Dogfish Head, so I’m guessing they have used Centennial Hops in this brew, but it isn’t a very hoppy beer so it’s hard to tell and could well be Kent Goldings which would also work very well. Someone at Dogfish Head told a friend of mine in Delaware that they used Champagne Yeast to ferment the beer which makes sense as it does have a very sharp taste. I must congratulate them on this, as it can be quite a difficult yeast to deal with.

The beer pours with a very light yellow/amber colour with a thin white head which fades to a thin cap, this is pretty standard for a Berliner Weiss. The only difference is that the carbonation is a lot higher than usual for this style, again probably due to the Champagne Yeast. The carbonation makes you think it’s going to be as fizzy as a supermarket lemonade but it calms down after a while and starts to look very inviting. The smell of this beer is very complex, it has hints of malt, wheat and the peach concentrate is most definitely there. There is also that sour tarty smell from the Lacto conversion of some of the Sugars into Lactic Acid and there’s a small grassy hint that there are hops in the beer (not that this is the most important part of this style). The first thing you notice when you taste this beer is the intense tart sourness of the peaches, the sugar really has been stripped out but it’s such a great addition to such a classic style. You get the wheat and malt after this intense hit and then a slight piney hop bitterness to finish off. The beer goes down very smooth but it is as dry as a Pinot Grigio. The carbonation is still almost champagne-esque but it’s nothing too bad and the quality and complexity of this brew brushes off this almost negative point.

Unfortunately Dogfish Head beers are extremely hard to get in the UK as they have stopped distribution here to concentrate on expanding their market in the US. However, if you get a chance to try or buy this beer in America or you can ask someone to bring it back for you I seriously recommend you do. If you want to try a Craft Berliner Weissbier in the UK that is brewed in the UK I would recommend Siren Craft Brew’s Calypso, you could even add some peach concentrate to try and replicate this great Dogfish Head brew. If you’re looking for something closer to the traditional style, I would recommend Berliner Kindl Weisse but I must warn you it is extremely sour!

EST. CALORIES: 135   ABV: 4.5%