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Tartare - Bear Republic Brewing Co.

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95 Reviews
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Reviews: 95
Hads: 534
Avg: 4.29
pDev: 23.08%
Wants: 181
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Berliner Weissbier |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ChrisPro on 11-19-2011

One of the world's classic sour beer styles, Tartare is Bear Republic's interpretation of Berliner Weisse, the tart, low-alcohol beer style dubbed as "The Champagne of the North."

Bronze medal at the 2011 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beer in the Wild Beer/Acidic Category
Winner at 2013 Good Food Awards, Adventurous, Barreled, Big, Bawdy, & Belgian Beer Category
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 95 | Hads: 534
Photo of Damian
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Lord Hobo, Cambridge, MA
Served in a cervoise

Hazy straw yellow appearance. The beer had no head and no lacing and looked completely flat.

The nose was one of the most fascinating I have encountered in a beer. Brett-like tartness and fruity sweetness combined in a very unique way. Tons of bright, lemony notes. Kiwi and strawberry came through strong as well. Hints of buttered popcorn. There was also a slight mustiness.

Like the nose, the flavor profile was very unique. Super tart. Kiwi fruit and strawberry notes dominated the front end. I also picked up a slight tropical fruit presence. The beer turned even more tart and lemony in the center. Ultra crisp and somewhat wheaty. Exceedingly dry. Hints of bready malts appeared in the tart and acidic finish.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied and contained a fine, zippy effervescence. Super smooth and fluffy on the palate.

Tartare is a very unique take on an already interesting style of beer. Given its low ABV, I feel like I could drink gallons of this on a hot day. I really hope Bear Republic decides to bottle this sometime soon.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Raul is all up in it with his first experience at Toronado (San Diego). Like Mr Howell the III when he isn't stranded on Gilligan's Island, diggin into some tartare it is.

Light, crisp, refreshing... Like watching Lily Aldridge using a loofa, Raul can get used to this.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I am not a huge fan of sour ales or this style at all but this was one of the better beers, not just of this style but of all styles, that I have had. Poured a cloudy yellow with one-finger head and minimal lace on top of an aroma that is mostly sour and tart with touches of sharp, spicy citric. Smooth, light-bodied, easy to drink, tastes like the smell with an extremely sour, puckering, citrusy vibe with some funk and tartness (can't really put my finger on the exact tastes). Finishes real crisp and dry and don't know if I could session this as the sourness could wear but definitely a must try to have at least one.

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Photo of Ysgard
4.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had this on tap in a 12oz pour at The Birch in Norfolk.

I've got limited Berlinerweiss experience, only having sampled 1809, and having had the Oarsman and Bahnhof's offerings, as well as what I believe was a Berliner from Sun King. I've had a great deal of sours in general though, so I'm judging from a broader perspective.

A: Straw yellow, very pale, with a luminescent cloudiness that is markedly different than Hefe or Wit. A present yet subdued bit of head around the edges of the glass.

S: Lactic, lemon zest, a subtle touch of that bright velvety clove and orange melange of Imported Hefe's such as Ayinger Brauweiss. A pleasant pilsner and wheat twangy aroma.

T: Aggressively tart, with largely lactic flavor, again those subtle hefe cues of spice and citrus, pils and wheat. A tiny bit of funk, and a sweet white oakiness ties things together.

m: The oak does work here, giving a thin beer a soft fineness on the tongue. It gives it substantialness without taking away from the drinkability.

If you are lucky enough to come across this, get it and savor it.

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Photo of beertunes
3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in 10oz goblet for $7. A pint would have been $9. Why is such a low ABV wheat beer so expensive? The beer poured a cloudy pale yellow, think pineapple juice, with virtually no head and absolutely no lacing.

The aroma was properly tart, with a nice wheat base. Same on the tongue, the expected mix grain and sourness, with any particular aspects that made it stand out. The body was on the light side, but still had a subtle substance, and a dry finish. Drinkability was very good, I could have a couple of these on a summer's day, except for the unrealistic price. Overall, a very good and enjoyable brew, and one that's worth a shot, if you can stomach the price.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Huge thanks to eyebereej for bringing this one on his trip to Florida! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 750 mL Hill Farmstead growler into a Weyerbacher pint glass.

A: Pours a very hazy light yellow with a thin white head and a couple streams of visible carbonation meandering up the side.

S: Wow. Huge nose on this one. Very funky and tart, with wet grass and barnyard, tons of lactic acid, some lemony citrus, a bit grainy and sour as well.

T: Big sour lactic mouth-puckering up front, with a solid lemon citrus, funky and tart, with hints of barnyard. A moderate wheat graininess on the exhale, along with some serious tartness.

M: Light body, low carbonation sensation (possibly from the growler serving vessel), and low alcohol presence.

O: Excellent interpretation of a base berliner. This one has some serious tartness. This is probably the most enjoyable non-fruited berliner I've ever had, and this is coming from someone with access to Cigar City, Peg's and Wakefield's stuff. Excellent, and highly recommended. I must get more...

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Photo of BenHesk12
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delivered on tap at Pi Bar, San Francisco CA. The beer appears a light yellow to pear color with little to no head whatsoever. No hoppy aroma but upon further sniffing one can get a slight tinge of the sourness. Upon sipping an instantly and somewhat overwhelmingly sour flavor hits the palate, but in an appreciable and exciting way. Low alcohol flavor and invites you to drink bigger sips. Wonderful delicate mouth feel provides contrast to the strong sour flavor. Good to see Bear Republic really trying to make something special and I wholeheartedly approve.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tartare is a delicious and very sour example of this style.

A. Yellow couloir and a head that fades to nothing. 3.5

S. sour with a little rotten fruit funk. 4

T. Sour with some fruity tang. Damn. Mouth puckering. Clean finish. 4.5

M. Low carbonation. 4

O. 4.5

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Photo of John_M
2.88/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

On tap at Belmont Station the other day.

The beer pours a pale yellow gold color with very light lacing and pretty much zero head retention. Sorry, but it's hard for me to be very impressed by a beer that appearance-wise, initially reminds me of bud lite lime. On the nose, you can tell right off this is going to be one sour beer. There's hint of light clove, lime, lemon and wheat, but it's clear just on the nose that this is going to be sour. On the palate, the amount of sour is overpowering. There's no light tartness that one expects in a Berliner Weisse, as the beer literally smacks you in the face with the level of sour it imparts. I literally get nothing else, other than over-riding sour (maybe there's a hint of lemon and lime, but that's really about it). Mouthfeel is fairly light, but then that's to be expected in a 4% abv. beer. Alcohol is undetectable.

Couple of thoughts and observations. I'm not a huge sour fan, but I've enjoyed the German versions of this style, because the sour component generally doesn't smack you over the head. This clearly does. I guess this beer is remarkable for the level of flavor you get in a 4% beer, but I just wish there was a bit more to this beer than sour, sour, sour... The couple next to me at BS were drinking a flight of left over sour beers from puckerfest, and I was surprised they hadn't gotten a sample glass of the tartare. The guy told me that he was a huge sour fan, while his wife (GF?) said she was a fan, but not to the extent her husband was. So I happily gave them my glass. The woman indicated that the beer was too sour for her, while the gentleman indicated that he enjoyed it, but that it was on the boundary of just how much sour he could tolerate. Don't believe I'll be ordering this one again.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.09/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 16-oz. draft
Glass: Goblet
From: Bear Republic Brewing Company in Healdsburg, Calif.
Price: $6.50
Purchased: July 17, 2013
Consumed: July 17, 2013
Misc.: Came with an option of a raspberry or green apple side flavoring

Poured a yellow-golden straw hazy color with gray head that dissipated rather quickly. Minimal wet lacing on the sides. Poor retention on the top on the way down.

Smelled sour fruit, curdled milk, tart, kiwi, grapes and green apple.

Tasted tart, Sweet Tarts, green apple, kiwi, sour and green grapes.

Light body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, tart finish. Drinkable and refreshing.

A very good Berliner Weissbier that I would definitely try again.

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Photo of kojevergas
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served on-draught into a 4 oz taster glass at the Churchill's Finest Hour 2013 release at Churchill's pub. Reviewed from notes taken standing up in the overflowingly crowded pub, so this review as not as detailed as I would have liked.

A: Pours a beige colour floater ring; no real head at all. Perhaps this is because of the taster glass; I've had this issue with a few beers now. Body colour is a clear pale lemon-yellow. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. A bit weak, but generally appealing.

Sm: Light clean sourness. Crisp, fresh, and appealing. Pale malts. A mild strength aroma. Very good for the style. Inviting. Alive.

T: Sourness. Pale malts. Clean. Refreshing. Nicely tart. Lemon. Lactic as hell; I love that. Great fresh zesty taste. Perfect balance. Great subtlety. Amazing complexity for the style. I'm very impressed.

Mf: Soft. Light. Refreshing. Smooth. Wet. Perfectly carbonated. Has an ideal body for the style: clean yet full and refreshing. Great presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile obscenely well.

Dr: Very drinkable. Near perfectly executed for the style. I love it. I would definitely have it again; it's easily the best berliner weiss I've ever had. I need to revisit this beer in a better environment to really go as in-depth with my review as it deserves. An amazing offering from Bear Republic, and highly recommended.

Low A

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Photo of beerloverofbham
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Brouwer's Cafe during Sour Fest. Served in a snifter.
Color of pale straw, and cloudy--almost looks like fresh farm stand lemonade. Smells lactic, with light hints of peach and citrus. Lots of lacto up front at first taste, with notes of apricot and lemon peel. Little to no wheatiness. Good mouthfeel, but no lacing on the glass whatsoever. Finishes very clean.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.72/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

on-tap, bottleworks, no f*cking syrup

12oz pour - unbranded tulip - slightly clouded straw-yellow beer with a nice fluffy white cap. Aroma is overwhelmingly tart - grassy, lemon rind, sugar. I'm somewhat of a novice in the style, but this was pretty staggering. Easily one of the tartest beers I've ever consumed - sugars, lemon, wheat, lactic. Pretty intense stuff, and from the looks of it, A WHALE

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Had on tap at the Burgundian.

A: Tartare was a hazy straw/yellow color with a small white head on top which reduced to a thin ring. Minimal lacing.

S: Lightly tart, nice wheat aroma. Light citrus, some lemon and lemon zest, slightly acidic. Very nice.

T: Really nice acidity for a berliner, nice and tart. Some wheat, a bit of apple and pear, light citrus. More sour than the aroma, and I am loving it.

M: Light to medium bodied, extremely easy drinking.

O: An amazing Berliner, probably the best I have had. Great sour/tartness for style with plenty of fruit flavor.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.56/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a sharp golden color with a small fluffy white head that dissolves into a ring in short time.

Lots of lacto in the nose. Strong lemon aroma. Don't get much grainy wheat from the nose.

Similar flavors as the nose and it is wonderful. Tons of lemon tartness up front with a little apple as well. Relentlessly sour and puckering throughout it finishes very dry and oaky.

Light bodied, but probably fuller than most berliners with good carbonation levels. Supremely dry finish.

Not sure why this is a Berliner weiss. Scored as that, it would be much lower since it's too tart and oaky with not nearly enough grainy wheat that is standard for the style. As an American Wild, it is sublime and one of the best ones I've had so I've scored it as such. If you want a great American Wild try this beer. If you want a traditional Berliner look elsewhere though.

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4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

9oz snifter for $6.75
Sampled 04SEP12

Menu description: "Tartare is a dry and tart Berliner-style wheat beer spontaneously fermented in a 2500 gallon oak vessel."

[A] Arrives with a quarter finger of fluffy, bright head that fizzes out after a few seconds. A thin bubbly collar remains. The body is a cloudy pale creamsicle color - absolutely glowing in the glass. No lacing but very attractive nonetheless.

[S] The nose is fantastic and heavily lactic. Lemons mixed with general orange and citrus aromas. While I do miss the Brett character, the nose does just fine without it.

[T] Flavor ends with a relentless lemon-forward acidity, which is great, but the level of refreshment takes a hit. Bright lemony acid rips through the sugar crystal substrate. Lightly dusty on the finish.

[M] Strikingly tart on first sip. And very light and snappy on the finish. The mouthfeel gives the jaw muscles a serious workout, which is great, but does hinder drinkability to a degree.

[O] Berliner traditionalists would probably cringe upon trying this brew but I quite enjoyed it for the enamel and esophagus eating qualities that I experienced.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to yourefragile for sharing this growler. Served in a cervoise. The nose is fairly tart with a bit of wheat in the background, but mostly sourness and light stone fruits. Flavor is similar. It's quite tart, and unfortunately doesn't have much dry wheat character like a great Berliner. Instead, it's more of an American Wild, though a good one at that.

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Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Good Beer, New York, NY

A: The beer is hazy pale light yellow in color. It poured with virtually no head—just some hints of lacing on the surface.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of sourness in the nose.
T: The overall taste is quite sour and has flavors of oak and notes of grapes. The flavors and sourness especially linger through the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied and extremely tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness.
O: This beer is light and refreshing, but takes a long time to sip given the heavy amount of sourness.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.87/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This poured out as a muddy looking yellow color, there was no head retention on this or lacing at all. The smell of the beer was obviously sour it's got a potent amount of tart aromas coming off of this one. The taste is also very tart/sour it reminded me of limes or lemons almost. It over powers the malt base entirely in my opinion. The mouthfeel of the beer is light, a little watery, it's refreshing and dry all at the same time. Overall it's not something I would drink a lot of but it was nice to try.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's for their Black Friday event and served in a snifter.

Tartare pours a burnt gold yellow, and is totally opaque thanks to the wheat. The glass arrives without a bit of head on it. The nose has a sharp citric acidity to it, with just a little bit of grainy wheat appreciable as well. The flavor follows through on that blueprint. The beer is highlighted by a bright lemon tartness, which is just kept in balance by the flavor of the wheat. There's a little bit of a body contribution from the wheat, and it's the only thing that keeps the beer from coming across as watery, meaning the beer is perfectly light bodied. The effervescent carbonation lends credence to the style's nickname of "the champagne of the north". Berliner Weiss is a hit and miss style for me, but Tartare is probably the best of the bunch that I've had.

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Photo of emerge077
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Early beer at FoBAB '12, three pours in the festival taster glass, around 10-12 oz. total.
Quick review from notes.

Very pale straw color in the glass, nearly a pastel shade it was somewhat hazy and glowed when held to the light. Thin layer of white foam on the surface that stuck around for the first couple sips. Aroma had a whiff of sulfur at first, but this blew off fairly quickly, revealing sour lemon, sharp lacto, and faint supporting notes of grainy wheat in the background. Extremely tart, more of an explosive sourness that builds quickly and vanishes just as fast. Very crisp and clean, puckering lemon and dry like champagne in the finish. A well crafted Berliner Weisse, much more sour than most. Extremely drinkable and refreshing, the low abv was welcome and it certainly stood out as a memorable beer early on, preceeding a night full of booze monsters.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Long time want right here, hand delivered to my house in growler form by the yourefragile himself. Served in a Bear Republic shaker pint.

Beer is yellow and hazy with no head, no lacing, moderate carbonation.

Aroma is lactic and sharp, very sharp.

Beer is very sour, almost one note sour, very lactic, mildly succinic, an interesting and grainy bitterness on the finish. A nice berliner for sure. I do enjoy it and glad I got to try it.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 32oz. growler.

Hazy, pale, straw yellow with very little head or lacing; looks a bit murky which seems right for the style. Enormous sour lacto nose; brett-like funk and mustiness; lemon, vinegar, maybe a hint of wheat. Let's not kid ourselves; this is one tart and acidic aroma.

Taste follows the nose; powerfully sour and acidic, lots of puckering lemon, lacto funk, hints of cheesiness and must; moderate vinegar. One of the more sour beers I've had and a must try for fans of the style. An extreme Berliner that leans heavily towards the tart and sour rather than the funk side. The latter is in there but takes a back seat to the former.

Medium-thin bodied, moderately carbonated. Slightly watery, which could have been a result of the growler's life and transportation, which I couldn't vouch for.

While perhaps not the most authentic, this is probably the best and most memorable example of the style I've tried to date. Seek this one out.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Served in a tulip glass, a dull and slightly hazy yellow-pineapple-juice color with no head other than a thin ringlet of bubbles that fizzled out in a couple minutes. Tart and lactic in the nose, funky and slightly floral. This is reflected in the taste: quite tart and puckering at first, lemon and grapefruit, citric and lactic acid, not so much acetic, though there was a slight vinegary presence in there, secondary flavors of biscuity malts, white grapes and grassy funk, but the sourness/tartness was clearly in charge here. Medium body, quite good for the style. Definitely a tasty brew worth revisiting.

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Photo of brystmar
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barcade.

Lemon-lime Gatorade color, almost zero head or lace. What does fizz up fades quickly, never to be seen again.

Citrus fruits and oak in the nose, both bleed into the taste. Oaky wine barrels shine against the lime-citrus base. Very tart, nearly puckering sourness is unique for the style. And although it's less lactic than most Berliners, there's considerably more flavor here than in an any non-fruited Berliner I've had. Quite impressive.

Highly acetic, just how I like my sours. Tartare may be too intense for some, but I would happily drink this all day long given the chance. Fantastic execution of the style. PLEASE bottle this!

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Tartare from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.