Right or wrong, August Schell’s has a reputation in Minnesota for making safe beers. The reputation likely has something to do with the fact that they made craft beer as early as 1984, before it was called that, and probably because of their focus on lagers instead of trendy American styles. That reputation, though, could use an update. Cypress Blanc is the fifth release in their Noble Star Series, a progressive string of beers that uses cypress wood fermentation tanks from 1936 to condition sour lagers.
Cypress Blanc, with their regular lager yeast, two strains of Brett, and added lacto, is a very different beer than the Deer Brand lager that was once made in these tanks. The Berliner Weisse pours yellow with a light, unfiltered cloudiness that’s more prominent toward the end of the bottle. Its bouquet is acidic and fruity, with hints of apple and grape and a touch of underlying funk.
The upfront flavor is heavy on the sour, with a first impression led by a lemony pucker that washes away in a milky lacto finish. The carbonation and tartness are the first things to hit the tongue, but the sour is really all at the start, making it a cleansing and easy drinking summer beer, refreshing but with a big bold “wake-up.” As the pint goes down, the sour impressions fade and more citrus comes through giving the beer a mild foundation with some of those funky wild beer characteristics at play within.
Much of the Noble Star Series has included a fruit infusion to the Berliner Weisse variations, but here the core grains do the talking. The result is a great summer beer ideal for pairing with meats and sweet foods, as well as for beating the heat.
Brewery: August Schell Brewing Co.
City: New Ulm, MN
Availability: 750 ml bottles