Is it common to have a shot of syrup with a berliner weisse?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by kudos, Dec 23, 2013.

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  1. kudos

    kudos Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2013 Florida

    I was at a place last week and ordered a berliner weisse and they brought me a shot of cherry syrup or something that I'm assuming I was supposed to pour into it. I tasted it before and after and it was noticeably better after. I'm assuming I did this correctly or maybe I just looked like an idiot but regardless it tasted great.

    Is this normal?
  2. Frankloydleft

    Frankloydleft Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2013 Colorado

    that is the traditional way in which a berliner weisse is served
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  3. kudos

    kudos Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2013 Florida

    Interesting. I was at cigar city and had theirs (stiftung) and they don't do this. That's why it came as a surprise when it happened at this place. I must say it was great. Would order again.
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  4. PsilohsaiBiN

    PsilohsaiBiN Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2010 New York

    Robotussin DMmmmm.
  5. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    In Germany, Berliner Weisse is served with a shot of either raspberry or woodruff syrup. I never met anyone over there who regularly drank the stuff straight (I got to try the old Schultheiss straight a few times, and it was as sour as the most sour Gueuze I've ever tasted). FWIW, most Germans consider Berliner Weisse "women's beer." It's only here in the U.S. that it has somehow become a test of your street cred to "embrace the sourness" and drink it straight. Probably has something to do with it being a sort of "poor-man's" Gueuze for thrill-seeking beer geeks.
    #5 herrburgess, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  6. robboyd

    robboyd Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2011 Indiana

    I had Upland's Wolf Eye Berliner from the tasting room served straight and then from a bar down the street on the same day and they gave me Raspberry and Elderberry German syrups. I had a similar reaction that OP had and questioned why they asked my wife what flavor syrup she wanted. The server took me to school and explained it's traditional to do it this way and that Upland (or maybe the distributor) provided the syrup. I have to admit, it was delicious with the syrup. More so than straight.
  7. musicman7070

    musicman7070 Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey

    Tired Hands currently has a Berliner Weisse on tap and they offer a shot of Cinnamon and Vanilla bean syrup with it. That's interesting how they offer a shot of a syrup. It's probably to cut the sourness of the beer.
  8. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    Wow, I didn't know this.
  9. kudos

    kudos Initiate (0) Aug 16, 2013 Florida

    I noticed before drinking it that it was a very light beer. The syrup actually boosted the flavor in a significant way. Was very average before syrup and great after.
  10. Lare453

    Lare453 Pooh-Bah (2,822) Feb 1, 2012 Florida
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    They used to have three or four syrups available to choose from which the chef at ccb brewpub made from scratch. The woodruff was amazing.
  11. LambicKing

    LambicKing Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Germany

    But why is gose left unmolested? (similar flavor profiles...salt excluded)

    For the record, I swing both ways (with my Berliners)...usually prefer without syrup to get my full sour fix.
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  12. WTKeene

    WTKeene Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2013 New Mexico

    Most berliners I've had have already been fruited. The ones that haven't are far from the most sour beers I've ever had, and I thought they were fine just straight.
  13. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2013 Antarctica

    Didn't the old lambic cafés serve lambic with a side of syrup or sugar? I'm talking like 80 years ago or older.
  14. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I concur. Upon my first visit to Berlin I ordered two Berliner Weisse (one for my wife and one for me) at a local kneipe. The waiter looked at me confused and said "you mean a Berliner Weisse for your wife?" I understood his drift and said sure I'll have another pilsner. Well the Berliner Weisse comes out bright antifreeze green w/ an extra long yellow straw. Very sweet (according to my wife). Not for men.
  15. cavedave

    cavedave Grand Pooh-Bah (4,083) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I enjoy it without the syrup, very refreshing sour beverage, really tasty and bracing beer. Had no idea it was doing anything for my street cred, but now I like it even more knowing it does:slight_smile:
  16. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2012 Belgium

    I think that the style had a similar evolution as lambiek. Hugely popular in the past aka 700 breweries in the 19th century, it was a fully sour beer. Completely wild & unaltered. As pilsner & modern brewing became popular in the 20th century people switched over to that. Style went pretty much extinct as pilsner was seen more modern, sourness as something for old people & bad brewing, peoples taste preferences changed. The brewers that survived switched over to making it overly sweet appealing to peoples preferences. Only those remained alive & it became a women’t drink much like the sweetened lambiek’s in Belgium which are also seen as a women’s drink.

    So in a nutshell sweetened Berliner Weisse with the syrup is “tradional” now in the same way as is sweetened lambiek but only really came about some time around 1960s – 1970s.
  17. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2012 Belgium

    Gose went completely extinct several times. went completely extinct around the time of WWII. So no breweries ever survived long enough to start sweetening it to appeal to modern costumers. The idea only came around in 1960s – 1970s. After that only one guy tried recreating it since it was a labour of love for tradition, he never sweetened it for commercial appeal. He was the only one who still knew the older production ways, changing them would mean total death of the style. They tried re-launching it in the 1980s in Leipzig which failed completely because it was weird & sour. They tried again in 1990s in Berlin by that point there was already some interest for these kinds of beers albeith only limited. These days you have tourism & USA export etc. Still only 3 – 4 breweries in Germany make it maybe, none in the historical place of origin.
  18. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    It's much worse than that actually. Most Germans wouldn't be caught dead with a "Berliner Weisse" for the reason Herr Burgess gave you and (and that may be the more important reason), "Berliner Weisse" is a regional speciality (and I'm using the term "speciality" rather loosely here...) from the city of Berlin, a place universally hated by the rest of Germany. It's been our capital since 1871 and everything shitty that has befallen Germany since started there. So, should you ever come to Germany, do not make the mistake to ask for that anywhere outside Berlin. Reactions will range from laughter (Köln + Düsseldorf) to blank stares (most of Germany) to being chased by a mob of angry villagers carrying torches and pitchforks (Franconia + Bavaria).
  19. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2012 Belgium

    Berliner Weisse & Gose survived more or less but lost much of their history.
    Witbeer sort of survived but is only an approximation of the originally sour style.
    Grätzer, Grodziskie, Lichtenhainer, Broyhan,… all went extinct.
    As did the sour fruit beers of Germany.
    Lambiek & Geuze survied best.
    As did whatever the saison up until 1970s was.
    Dupont has been around the longest & originated modern saison’s.
    Apparently their “saison” was atypical down to the point of having no flavours in common with the others.
    WD_Eisemann and cavedave like this.
  20. offthelevel_bytheplumb

    offthelevel_bytheplumb Initiate (0) Aug 19, 2013 Illinois

    Thanks for the heads up man. If and when I go to Germany, I'll just stick to the lagers and the hefers.
  21. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

  22. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2012 Belgium

    Interesting, news :slight_smile: to me. Any more details as to how long this has been going on?
  23. mmmbirra

    mmmbirra Initiate (0) Apr 19, 2009 Italy

    I wasn't aware that it was served with syrup until we visited Dusseldorf a few years back. We stopped by this little pub run by a guy probably in his seventies as a way to take a break from Uerige and Fuchschen and appease our girlfriends/wives. The sign advertising berliner weisse caught their eye, but when one of us tried to order one without syrup the man flat out refused at first. After some convincing he agreed to serve one without the syrup, but he wasn't happy about it.
  24. 77black_ships

    77black_ships Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2012 Belgium

    Reminds me of my visit to De Troch brewery during Tour de Geuze where they asked me:
    “Do you want a normal geuze or a sour one?”. She gave me quite a look when I asked for a sour one after blankly staring at her for a while.

    In all honesty Berliner Kindel is pretty nasty, rather put some syrup in there & just drink basically grenadine.
  25. jesskidden

    jesskidden Pooh-Bah (2,969) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Nope, just an article I stumbled upon researching the US pre-Prohibition (so-called) "Weiss Beer" breweries. (The US once had a small but widespread third brewing industry group besides ale & porter brewers and lager brewers - the weiss beer breweries. They tended to make the news only when their products were sold as "non-intoxicating" or in relationship to their difficulty in paying federal excise taxes, since their products were always bottled and the Feds taxed beer in barrels, before bottling.)

    Here is a full-page image from a 1950s era photo book on Germany, that suggests "Berliner Weisse mit Shuss" was common enough to be represented.

  26. TongoRad

    TongoRad Grand Pooh-Bah (3,826) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    You and me, Dave, although I'd prefer my 'street cred' being for following the beat of my own drum. Early on, for me, I tried them with and without the syrups and simply had a preference for it without. We mostly got Kindl in those days. I cut my teeth on dry acidic white wines, though, so maybe that's why it didn't seem so strange to me on its own.
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  27. jeffthecheff

    jeffthecheff Initiate (0) Jul 23, 2008 Connecticut

    When I had Gose in Liepzig, they actually did offer it with syrups. It didn't really work as well as Berliner Weisse does. I prefer Berliner with syrup but Gose straight.
  28. Pug

    Pug Initiate (0) Jun 6, 2012 Minnesota

    Or you could order one for yourself and drink what you want to drink without feeling shamed that you are a drinking a "women's beer" that is "not for men." Maybe you don't like the extra sweet taste, but I'm not sure that is or should be considered inherently gendered.
  29. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I don't think anyone here in Germany ever considered "Berliner Weisse" a seperate style of beer. It was and is a refreshing girly mix drink along the lines of Hamburg's "Alsterwasser" or "Radler" in München. Or are those considered seperate styles now as well ?
  30. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    As to some of the origins about Germans adding sweet things to sour beer lying in the 19th or 20th centuries -- from everything I've read people were doing this sort of thing to cut the sourness of beer way back in the 15th and 16th centuries. Even a brief reading of the history of the Reinheitsgebot will tell you that.

    As for BW being a woman's drink: all I said is that that it the way Germans see it. I used to drink the stuff regularly back in the late 80s/early 90s. Sure, I got some funny looks, but it didn't bother me...especially when Schultheiss was on offer. Yum. FWIW, I even like the Kindl. (But, hey, I also like Belle Vue Gueuze. I know...I have zero beer geek street cred.)

    Now, as to Gose not being's a link to Ohne Bedenken's "Gose menu." While they do offer it unsweetened, there are a number of versions with syrup/fruit.
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  31. danfue

    danfue Initiate (0) Sep 16, 2012 Germany

    Agreed, it is widely viewed as a mix drink for the summer months. Plus, apart from a few so-called "craft" brewers that revive the beer as an own style in Berlin, there is hardly any brewery offering this. Even in Berlin, all you get usually is the Berliner Kindl and Schultheiss-industrial beer.
    However, with all those mixed drinks, big breweries have started to offer in the last years as a response to the declining beer consumption, I wouldn't be surprised to see ready-mixed Berliner Weisse by Krombacher and the likes.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  32. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    It's your prerogative to drink stuff created for girls who couldn't handle full beer.
    It's my prerogative to snicker.
    Seriously though, whoever likes this stuff, drink it and all the best to you. I'm just curious why someone would consider it a seperate brewing style when it's simply a wheat beer with some syrup to make it drinkable for the fairer sex.
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  33. Jake1605

    Jake1605 Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 Missouri

    Don't forget your straw!!!
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  34. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Initiate (0) Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    I'm surprised it doesn't exist yet but I have a possible explanation too. Since it's a drink with roots all the way back to Imperial Germany it's rather old-school and breweries today would rather make new hip exciting (or what passes for exciting these days...) mixes instead of reviving that stuff that Oma had at her first date with Opa.
  35. Hop-Droppen-Roll

    Hop-Droppen-Roll Initiate (0) Nov 5, 2013 Minnesota

    This must be the region of Germany my forefathers were from. Deutchland Uber Alles!
  36. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

  37. JoeBloe

    JoeBloe Pooh-Bah (1,905) Nov 16, 2007 New York

    I remember 30 years ago working in Hoboken and having lunches in a restaurant (The Brass Rail, I think) where they served their "Weiss" beer in a bottle - can't remember the name of the brew - along with a tall fluted glass and a shot glass of raspberry syrup - the ritual was to pour the syrup into the empty glass, down the side whilst turning the glass to get the syrup to spiral down - and then pouring the beer into said glass - good stuff - thanks for jogging my memory!
  38. steveh

    steveh Grand Pooh-Bah (3,988) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois
    Pooh-Bah Society

    But it really is a wholly different beer from other beers brewed with wheat* -- even without the extra added topping.

    (*Knowing full-well your love of Weizen :wink:)
  39. TheGator321

    TheGator321 Initiate (0) May 29, 2013 Connecticut

    why yes, yes it is common.
  40. herrburgess

    herrburgess Pooh-Bah (2,991) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    I think it deserves some clarification as to what constitutes a traditional Berliner Weisse. (Note: I'm sure Ron Pattinson can provide better, primary source info here, but I'm going on Michael Jackson's description from his New World Guide to Beer).

    It is not simply a wheat beer with lactic acid and/or syrup added.

    It is a beer of 50% wheat mash and hopped exclusively in the kettle (which is not taken to a full boil). In primary fermentation, it's pitched with Lactobacillus delbrueckii, but also blended with a small proportion of three- to six-month-old wort. After three days' primary fermentation, the wort is typically moved to a fermentation cellar, where it spends anywhere from three to (ideally) 12 months at warm temps between 59 and 77F. After this period of ripening, BW is then blended again immediately before bottling -- like a Krausening -- with wort that has been fermented only one day. There is then a further addition of Lactobacillus delbrueckii as a dosage before the beer is bottled. At Schultheiss the beer then had 4 weeks' bottle conditioning at the brewery, ideally at 25C, before being released.

    Now, it's not just another Weizen, and, as such, certainly deserves to at least be distinguished as a specialty beer of sorts.

    Also, it's not the stuff many U.S. "craft" brewers are cranking out just by doing partial boils, hopping only in the kettle, and adding Lactobacillus delbrueckii. As usual, it's much, much more complicated and complex than that.

    A place in Berlin, Brauerei Bogk, is apparently brewing their BW in the "traditional" way. If anyone knows of any U.S. brewers who are doing the same, please let me know.
    #40 herrburgess, Dec 23, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
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