Brew Review: BrewDog's Citrusy Rendition of the Iconic Berliner Weisse

By Chris Foste, August 1, 2019

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201804/foste.pngThat's columnist Chris Foste is a bearded beer fanatic whose frothy pint glass of knowledge flows over with wisdom on the wetting of one's whistle. 

Within the craft beer industry, there are two types of style advocates: traditionalist and avant-gardists. Those that seek to recreate time-honored classics or contort the recipe into a wicked fusion of flavors. Germany stands out as a country that has lawfully enforced conventional brewing methods but also tweaked historic styles, diverting from the typical brewing lineage. 

Innovative, modern and full of centuries of history draped in youthful energy, Berlin represents both domains of brewing ideology. Influence flowed from the malted heart of Bavaria to the crisp Champagne fields of France, as Berliner brewers began to add loads of wheat in their recipes and used spicy strains of yeast to cultivate a funky bubbly brew that challenges the standard of wheat beer. The Berliner Weisse is a light but sharply sour beer brimming with bubbles and a low ABV. These brews are often sold with fruit syrups added in Berlin, which further escalates the customization behind this style. 

Known as the Champagne of the North, Berliner Weisse is a refreshing sour session ale that has been emulated by numerous breweries over the years, and one version of this unique hybrid comes from the sinister Scottish brewery, BrewDog. Their Quench Quake, a tangerine and grapefruit Berliner Weisse, doesn't use added fruit syrup, but actual grapefruit and tangerine peel during the brew to give this creation a fragrant burst of citrus.

The Quench Quake is a spot-on name for this beer, as it quenches the thirst for zesty liquid sustenance while shaking up the taste buds with an acidic earthquake of bottle-shattering proportions. Start the rollercoaster down to Flavor Town by taking a strong whiff of the aroma, full of funky tart grapefruit. 

Be careful though, that first sip is a doozy. Sitting at 4.6% ABV, this exquisite craft has a light body but still maintains a biscuity malt flavor that gives this beer just enough backbone to hold up to the tart tangerine before descending into the full whiplash of grapefruit sour. The rising bubbles carry all of that juicy sour flavor right to the back of the jowls, tingling the inside of the cheeks. When judging beers, some amateurs often wonder what the difference between flavor and mouthfeel. Well this is it, folks. Sipping this sour blasts open the nervous system and opens the mind to a plethora of beer senses.

Light bodied and full of flavor, BrewDog's take on Berliner Weisse splashes with citrus that shoots a lovely 1,000-volt shock straight to the cerebrum. This is a fantastically crushable beer great for sunny patio session drinking. If you're in Shanghai, try this one at The Hop Project, where a fine pairing with a rich grilled cheese sandwich or some salty potato chips awaits. Reach for something rich, salty or fatty with this one, as the contrast in the flavors will balance out nicely and leave your palate coated in zesty Zen.

[All image courtesy of Chris Foste]

Read more of Foste's columns and brew reviews

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