Berliner Weisse – a simple recipe from the German capital!
Once a divided city, Berlin is now by far the largest Germany city with a population of some 3.5 million. So, when Munich has about 1.4 million people, Berlin should have far more breweries and beer styles, right? Well, the answer actually is no. Despite the fact that the International Berlin Beer Festival is hosted in the capital, the city is not well-known for beer at all. There is only one popular beer type from Berlin: Berliner Weisse. Is Berliner Weisse a Weissbier, and thus comparable to a wheat beer from Bavaria, like Paulaner or Erdinger? The answer is yes and no at the same time. This article deals with Berliner Weisse and gives you the typical Berliner Weisse recipe!
Berlin is not as famous as Munich for beer, but it is the home of Berliner Weisse beer, a refreshing, tangy beer perfect for summertime. It is very often mixed with Woodruff or Raspberry syrup.
What is Berliner Weisse beer and how is it made?
Berliner Weisse is a German wheat beer, brewed top-fermented with a mixture of wheat and barley malt. In contrast to other German beers, it undergoes a second fermentation procedure with lactic acid bacteria. Therefore, the Berliner Weisse has a rather sour and refreshing taste, while being of cloudy color. You can not compare it with a typical Bavarian wheat beer regarding its taste. Due to the lactic acid, Berliner Weisse can be preserved for a longer time than other German beers. It is a so called “Schankbier“, having a low alcohol content of only 2.8 %, resulting from a low original gravity (approx. 7.5 %). Compare that value to those of the normal wheat beer style or to those of a Pilsner! In consequence, Berliner Weisse beer is better suitable for refreshing and does not effect people that much in the summertime. Berliner Weisse is often enjoyed as a beverage mixed with woodruff or raspberry syrup. That way it is refreshing, fruity and provides a diversified taste unique for a German beer. The most similar beer mix would be Radler beer, also known as Alsterwasser.
A two-step fermentation process is used to brew Berliner Weisse beer. The first fermentation is conducted with yeast, while the second is driven by lactic acid bacteria. This is the reason why this beer is kind of sour and can be preserved longer than other beer types.
The story behind Berliner Weisse.
The history of Berliner Weisse beer ranges back to the 1500s, when a single brewer came back from a visit to the North German city of Hamburg and tried to brew a Hamburger type beer in Halberstadt, his hometown. He did it wrong, and in doing so made a wheat beer, which the people liked. This beer became famous in the region, and brewers from Berlin adapted the recipe, creating a new style of beer: Berliner Weizenbier – Berliner wheat beer. This was around the late 17th century. Ever since, more and more bars serving Berliner Weisse beer opened and this beer type belonged to Berlin’s city culture, where a dialect called “Berliner Schnauze” was spoken. Usually, back in the 1800s, Berliner Weiss beer was enjoyed in combination with liquor. Syrup was not used for mixing then. This changed in the last century when Berliner Weisse beer was more and more enjoyed as a mixture with woodruff or raspberry syrup. Nowadays, most people in Germany think of one of the two mixtures when they hear the word “Berliner Weisse”, yet the unmixed beer is still available without any syrup.
10 facts on Berliner Weisse bier!
- Berliner Weisse is the only beer Berlin is famous for.
- Berliner Weisse is a wheat beer, but its taste differs from other wheat beer styles.
- Berliner Weisse is also related to Gose beer, originating from the city of Goslar in the Harz mountain region.
- The taste is fresh, sour and it’s very fizzy.
- Two fermentation processes are applied when brewing – the first one is with yeast, the second one with lactic acid bacteria.
- It is usually mixed with woodruff or raspberry syrup and then called “grün” (green) or “rot” (red).
- Berliner Weisse is served in special glasses and is enjoyed with a straw.
- The alcohol content of Berliner Weisse beer (approx. 2.8 %) is very low in comparison to other German Beers like Bavarian wheat beer (5 – 6 %), Pilsner (4.4 – 5 %) or Kolsch (approx. 4.8 %).
- Berliner Kindl Weisse brand is the largest brewery for Berliner Weisse beer.
- Berliner Weisse is a registered trademark.
Berliner Weisse, especially in the variant mixed with syrup, is a perfect, refreshing beverage for hot days and easy to drink. Enjoy it in one of the typical glasses and with a straw!
Berliner Weisse with syrup – the recipe!
Although Berliner Weisse is available as a ready-to-drink mixture either “rot” or “green“. By the way, the Berliner Kindl brewery is currently offering more flavors than woodruff and raspberry – for instance cherry, pomegranate, peach, elderberry etc. Yet, we think that it is best to mix Berliner Weisse beer according to your personal taste and therefore recommend mixing yourself, if you have the required syrup at hand. Here’s the recipe:
- Take a Berliner Weisse glass or a bowl of similar size.
- Pour about 2 cl of Woodruff or Raspberry syrup into the glass (equals the amount of an ordinary German Schnaps glass).
- Quickly pour about ⅓ to ½ of a 0.33l Berliner Weisse bottle on top in order to ensure thorough
- Now, slowly pour the remaining beer into the glass – watch out to prevent overflowing.
Enjoy with a straw!
Berliner Weisse is not that kind of beer one would drink directly from a bottle. It is very fizzy and tends to overflow when poured into a glass too quickly. Take care!