For every major holiday, I like to choose one special brew that will enhance the holiday spirit. Although Easter was weeks ago, this one was special enough to warrant a mention—BRUERY TERREUX’s Frederick H. Berliner Weisse, a German-style tart wheat beer, yet another one of those perfect accompaniments to a beautiful Spring day. Bruery Terreux focuses on recipes inspired by the traditional farmhouse ales and sours famous in France and Belgium.
First, a disclaimer—I haven’t been a big fan of sours or tarts as my “traditional” beer palate has always drawn me to the hoppier profiles of pilsners and ales. I almost dismissed the current craze for sours and tarts as a passing brewing fad, but the Frederick H. has opened my eyes and palate to a new beer segment.
I poured this beer into a wine glass as suggested on the bottle. The hazy, honey-golden color and pleasant wine-like aromas with hints of citrus, apple, and peach suggested this beer’s flavor has something in common with a minerally French white wine. This beer is tart, really tart, but not mouth-puckering tart. It’s also pleasantly crisp and refreshing, with the dominant wheat, citrus and apple flavors nicely balancing out the earthy, “funky” tones. Its fermentation with lactobacillus in oak foeders (vats) imparts a sour and tannic character, giving this beer a complexity that belies its bright crispness.
While the Frederick H. is light-bodied and refreshing with a 4.4% ABV, this is not what I would consider a quaffable or “crushable” beer. As with any decent beverage poured into a wine glass, it should be enjoyed at the right temperature and at a moderate pace. And shared. The tart and tannic characteristics of this beer can overwhelm the palate and gut, especially if one attempts to finish a 22oz bottle on one’s own. But don’t let that stop you. This was a great introduction to the world of sour beers for me, and if you’re already a fan of this style, then the Frederick H. is one you should definitely try. —J.A.