You have a lot of options if you’re looking for a refreshing beer on a hot day. You can opt for a classic American pale, a sour and refreshing gose, a session IPA, a crisp pilsner…the summer beer landscape has never been this diverse. But might we recommend an old-school Berliner weisse? This tart wheat beer was born in Germany “back in the day” but adopted in recent years by American brewers. It’s a complicated beer delivering some yeasty funk, some creaminess from the wheat, and some bright tartness—a complex as hell kind of beverage that’s also really light and refreshing. Oh, and the Berliner weisse usually comes in at a surprisingly low ABV. In other words, this is classic summer beer territory. I like to imagine a bunch of historic German brewers, getting together on a hot day a couple hundred years ago, lounging around on their oversized swan floats in the middle of their swimming pool pounding one Berliner weisse after another. Because I love recreating history, I’ve picked a bunch of modern representations of the style for you to throw into your cooler this summer. You’re in charge of blowing up the oversized swan float.
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Independence Brewing Red Bud
Independence brews this 4.5% Berliner weisse year round, because they're located in Texas and it's summer all the time in Texas. You'll find some tart lemon in this beer offset by the hefty use of wheat.
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Creature Comforts Athena Paradiso
While some people add fruit to their Berliner weisse to cut the tart character, Creature Comforts added tart fruit (cherry and cranberries) to add even more acidity. They threw in some raspberries too, for balance. It's just 4.5% and it comes in a can. Yay!
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Night Shift Brewing Cape Codder Weisse
Everything you need to know is on the bottle: a sour ale aged with cranberries and oranges. Back in the day, people used to put fruity syrups in their Berliner weisse to help cut the tartness. Night Shift is beating you to the punch.
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Westbrook Brewing Co. Weisse Weisse Baby
First of all, any beer that references Vanilla Ice is okay in my book. The beer is light and bubbly, and plenty tart. They've made some fruity versions in the past (like this lemon version), but for some reason, haven't put the beer in a can yet. WTF, Westbrook?
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Dogfish Head Festina Peche
This seasonal from Dogfish Head has a green-apple like tartness even though it's brewed with peaches. It's totally sessionable, super light, and Dogfish Head has been brewing it for more than a decade.
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Grimm Blueberry Pop
Grimm Artisan Ales calls this a "dessert Berliner weisse," which they've brewed with blueberries, vanilla and milk sugar before letting it sit in oak. It's pink as hell and probably more balanced than anything else on this list.