For those who may have read my column consistently, or at least semi-regularly for the past year or so, you may know that I have maintained a theory about the nature and trajectory of the sour beer styles. With IPA now so mainstream that one cannot seem to turn a single corner without being presented with a new one, a vacancy opened in the niche subculture brew style that has yet to be filled. While many for a spell believed that it would be nitro beers which would serve to fill this void, I have maintained rather consistently that such would instead be sours.
With this latest Berliner Weisse release from Victory Brewing, I feel it safe to say once again that I was right. Of course, let’s be honest, I feel it safe to say that even when I’m not – which is practically never.
So what have we with this beer then? Starting off, it pours lightly and daintily with a pale golden color and bubbly overall demeanor. Not boasting the most aggressive head you’re likely to find, it makes up for what it lacks in foam with abundant effervescence that bubbles as though it were champagne.
At a smell, the notes of sour grapes which I have come to associate with the style waft lazily into the nose, accompanied by floral hints offered up by the addition of elderflower to the brew. With some trace hints of yeast lurking in the background, the sourness and tart to this beer come through rather delightfully in its nose, promising an altogether pleasant drinking experience.
The sip however, is as always where the rubber meets the road and in this, it gets off to a rather wonderful start rather quickly. At a first sip, the tangy hits of both the yeasty, wheaty sort of soul tickle the front of the palate, with the richer back palate sourness coming up in a complementary fashion right on its heels. Added to this floral and almost subtly hoppy grassy notes balance themselves against an almost smooth wood flavor, akin to oak.
Maintaining a light and altogether sunny texture and feel, it delivers this complex yet well-coordinated overall flavor profile in a generally smooth and easy going fashion. Within all of these, a permeating sweetness seems to almost haunt the periphery of the taste, causing it to be both straightforward enough to be enjoyable and understandable, while at the same time complex and thought provoking. While not a simple beer, it is an easy one to sip down and enjoy and at a humble 5.2%, it is such that a second round to follow the first is not a daring or aggressive idea.
Victory largely has proven to be a brewery that enjoys making the best of what they put their brewing minds to. I would say that this beer is no exception in this regards. As summer grinds on and fall approaches, it would be a kindness to yourself to indulge while this summer sipper is around.
So to Victory brewing, to my own sense of being right once again and of course to you, I say as always…