Friday night I was a happy, lucky man. I got to taste some 25+ years old Berliner Weisse. (Courtesy of Barak. Thanks Barak.)
After what I'd learned recently about the role of brettanomyces in the secondary conditioning of Berliner Weisse, there was just one thought on my mind. How much horse blanket would there be?
The two Weisses were Landré and Groterjan. Both, very honestly stated on the label, brewed by Schultheiss. The western one, for you Cold War conspirators. I'd tell you more about the history of those breweries and names. I would. But "Die Berliner Weisse", which I still had on my pile (I can no longer call it a desk), hasn't supplied any quick answers. Except that Groterjan had a rather racy 1920's brewery and started brewing Berliner Weisse in 1932.
Can someone else do the research? Just this once. It's getting in the way of me telling my tale. Feeling obliged to look this stuff up. No later than 1975, would be my guess. The age of the beers, going by the style of the labels.
"What did they taste like?" That was the point of all this. Telling you that. Sort of. I didn't take notes. I never do in Wildeman. These are just my impressions, recorded a day or two later. Ohne Gewähr, as they say on German TV.
The Landré was nicely, but not crazily, sour. Pretty clean tasting. A touch of rotting hay. Bone dry. In incredibly good nick for its age.
Groterjan had a whole barnyard in its aroma. A touch less sour, and with a a spike of infection. Think bière de garde. About double the mouldy wood accent that has. Drinkable despite that. Despite that. What am I saying, despite that. Beers several decades its junior I've spat into the canal. I'm being picky.
This was all about brettanomyces. For me. I'm not the best taster in the world. But some tastes are sledgehammers. Even I notice when they strike. All that rotty, shitty farm stuff. I'd put money on brettanomyces. My own money.
Landré? Possibly. Could have been some brett in there. But if Joris said no, I wouldn't argue with him. Well, yes, I would argue with him. With little real conviction.
I've changed my tune on Berliner Weisse. From "No, no, no brettanomyces" to "Yes, yes, yes brettanomyce" in, what? Three weeks. Fresh.
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