We’ve all heard of Berliner Weisse, but who now remembers her brunette sibling, Berliner Braunbier? She’s disappeared without a trace, despite, unlike many German top-fermenting styles, being brewed within living memory.
Even though small-batch beer holds only about 1 percent by volume of today’s German beer market, the legacy of handmade beer has endured years of macrobrewery consolidation and is finally coming out on the other side.
An incredible document has just come to light. It’s a typed manuscript, written in 1947 by A. Dörfel, the head brewer at Groterjan, a smallish brewery in Berlin specializing in top-fermenting beer. What makes the manuscript so fascinating is that Dörfel documents a lost world of German top-fermenting beers.
Berliner Kindl Weisse is the only Berliner Weisse brewed in significant volume in Berlin, and while it’s on menus around the city, it’s rare to see anyone drinking it apart from tourists. But two small breweries have started brewing Berliner Weisse, and both use old recipes to resurrect the original taste.