500ml bottle purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Brought back to Sydney and shared with Sam and Rich. This is clearly my first Grätzer, so stylistically I'm only really going off the ingredients and the description on the bottle itself.
Pours a rather clear golden colour, with a decently frothy head, at least initially. Body is quite light and bright but holds a decent amount of fine carbonation within it. Minimal lacing. Looks decent enough.
Smell is strange, but definitely fills all of the things I was expecting of it: slight smokiness, mild banana wheat characters, and some noticeable acidity. There's a hint of menthol coming through along with some other sharper slightly spicy characters. Perhaps from the yeast, there's a sweetness that comes through too, giving an odd, almost phantom character of raspberries. It's very strange. But good.
Taste is strangely empty. On the front there's definitely a smokiness that comes through, along with a thin, reedy wheat acidity, by the mid-palate, all the body has dropped out, leaving very little sweetness, and not much in the way of those weizen banana characters (although there's a volatile hint of them still in the sinuses). On the back, there's a slightly salty/mineral character and some residual dry smoke.
Feel is very light.
Overall, it's very interesting: there's no doubt about that. And I'm glad to be able to say I've tried a Grätzer. There's some level of integration here which is rather pleasant, but overall it just doesn't grab me, despite the obvious uniqueness of it.
48 / 100
Pours a cloudy granny smith apple-juice colour, very opaque with whispy sunken head of large bubbles. Some sediment floaties and not much lace. Looks curious, but undeniably weird.
Smell traverses the undeniably weird line into fucking bizarre territory. Huge sour fruit with apple juice and some blackcurrant, and a massive spice hit - cinnamon, clove and licorice root and a good belt of hickory smoke as well on the back. Nutty and gingery and just apple-esque as well. I'd like to love something this bizarre but I can only really give it some cred for originality.
Having expected the taste to be overblown and bizarre, I'm disappointed that it's ultimately quite bland. Has that weak apple juice character up front that descends into a slightly tart mid with a touch of wood, then finish emerges with no lustre, slightly tart and drying with a hint of ginger and star anise, but mostly an insipid tartness. The flavours might - actually, make that, would - have been interesting, but there's just not enough of them. Weird, but also just a bit dull, sadly.
A bit thin on the body, but a decent enough texture. Maybe a bit sizzly though, yeah not a huge fan.
An odd beer for sure, but not really strong enough to be offensive. Can I drink it? Yes. Would I reach for one from my friend's ice bath at a party? No. What would it even be doing at my friend's party?
75 / 100
Purchased at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and brought back to Australia to drink with @LaitueGonflable, @FakeCousinAndrew and @tobeerornottobe to celebrate the bottling of our Australian Gruit.
Initially, pours a very light coloured, and quite clear yellow, but the bottom half of the bottom, is filled with sediments and spice-chunks, leaving the beer ultimately cloudy as all hell, and slightly dark apple-juice coloured. Head is frothy but loose-bubbled, subsisting as a ring of white around the edges of the glass. Body is light.
Nose is incredibly redolent with hot spicy ginger, big rubbed herb characters and a peppery bite, that almost twists the whole thing into chemical weirdness. Very heavily spiced and incredibly unusual. Unlike anything I've had before.
Ginger disappears on the palate, leaving only the weird organics of crushed vegetation. Here, we get a heathery spice, an earth-and-root depth and a light crisp bite like lemon-tree leaves. Incredibly, it's very lively and refreshing, and the feel, while quite thin, gives some spritz and buoyancy to the thing as a whole.
Overall, it's quite a delicious beer, if one that is so far outside the realms of expectation. I'm so pleased to have been able to try this. I only wish I could have tried a Gruit from the past when all the ingredients were not only preservative, but also psychotropic.
70 / 100
Pours a very turbid pale marigold colour, with large carbonation bubbles skulking up to the top. Head is white and foamy, pretty humble but decent retention for the bubble size. Lace is not really there. Looks quite nice.
Smell is fairly funkadelic. Tart and crisp with a lot of acid, giving me Granny Smith apples, cranberries and citrus, all contained within a nice spice jar with cinnamon, ginger and a marmalade sweetness hanging at the back. Nice complexity, crispness, balance. It's ticking many of my boxes.
Taste is interestingly tart. Very fruity with a large melon component that starts early and gets far more pronounced towards the back. Not actually as much acid as I anticipated; the texture puckers slightly but doesn't take hold like other Berliner Weißes I've had. Slight tart berry component late-mid and a strong vinous character on the back is helped by the dry texture. Mostly sour towards the finish but it doesn't linger, and leaves you nicely refreshed, like a very strong lemon squash.
Could use a touch more flavour on the front and perhaps more of a flourish on the finish. It's quite enjoyable as it is, however.
75 / 100
Purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City (great location, by the way - check it out). It seemed interesting enough to bring back to Australia and share; when I purchased it I was unaware it was the top rated Berliner Weisse here, but now I'm glad I bought it.
Pours a cloudy and turbid, very pale golden colour, with a huge soapy and sudsy head of white foam that burgeons up and the cascades down in a very vibrant display. Hard to see much carbonation through the haze, but I imagine it's pretty effervescent. Looks pretty great, what I want a Berliner Weisse to look like.
Nose is pungently sour, with a big carbonic acidity throughout, that is just highlighted and accentuated with a lilting uplift of zesty lemon rind on the back, and sweetened with the promise of confectionery sugar. Dusty and a little refined, it's a more complex and complete aroma than I've yet had from any other beer in the style.
Taste is pleasantly sour, but not puckering, and again lilts nicely with a touch of citric zest. A little sweetness is present throughout, and the body is extremely light and effervescent without getting too gassy or bubbly. Slightly yeasty grit on the back, which detracts a little from the pure refreshment, but the delicate backbone of the beer more than makes up for it.
A lovely, refreshing and very light beer. It's the sec champagne of the beer world. Very easy to imbibe, and incredible delicate, but with a lilt and depth of character that is surprising in a beer designed so much from a refreshment point of view. Lovely.