With these insanely hot days still lingering into September, this segment of Tasting Notes is all about refreshment by taking a look at Blackboard #3: Berliner Weisse with Elderflower from Victory Brewing Company (Downingtown, Pennsylvania).
Berliner Weisse with Elderflower is the third installment in Victory Brewing’s Blackboard series, a new lineup that “unifies craft beer with market-fresh culinary inspirations similar to specials found on a blackboard in restaurants.” Just as the very descriptive name implies, this Berliner is a “wheat ale brewed with Hallertauer Hallertau hops” and infused with the essence of elderflower. Floral, earthy, lightly tart and crisp, this brew is all about easy drinking refreshment. You can find Blackboard #3: Berliner Weisse with Elderflower now through September in Alabama, Florida and throughout Victory’s 37 state distribution footprint. Look for this one at craft beer-friendly establishments in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles for the suggested retail price of $9.99 (price may vary upon location). You now have the details, and I’d like a beer. Let’s get into some Tasting Notes!
Tasting Notes for Blackboard #3: Berliner Weisse with Elderflower from Victory Brewing Company
Appearance: Berliner Weisse with Elderflower hits the glass as a pale, lemony yellow in color that has a fair amount of haze to it. Held to the light, the yellows brighten a touch but remain pretty consistent. Carbonation activity is high and makes haste throughout the body. The pour produced a little over a finger of white head that fades quickly to a pencil-thin ring that hugs the edge of the glass. There is very little lace to note or mention. This is pretty much exactly what one might expect to see when a Berliner is put in front of them.
Aroma: Things begin here with all of the aromas synonymous with American-made Berliners these days. An earthy and grainy wheat presence leads the way for the twang and tartness of the lacto. What allows this beer to stand apart is the lightly sweet and floral notes blooming from that elderflower addition. It may be subtle, but it provides just enough unique qualities to pique the interest of the drinker. This brew certainly has my attention.
Taste: A spot on portrayal of a Berliner Weisse here as well. The lemony, tart character of the lacto grabs your tastebuds right out of the gate. The wheat provides a solid base of grain, but it gracefully keeps the malt levels light and even. The floral and lightly sweet elderflower provides a kiss of dynamics that also lends a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla notes. The flavors start expected and finish surprising. In doing so, the taste comes together as alluring and satisfying.
Mouthfeel: Light in body with a high carbonation level to it, this brew is effortlessly easy drinking. It is tart on the palate, and it dries out crisp and clean. I was a bit worried about the slightly higher than normal (for the style) 5.2% ABV, but it is completely hidden from sight. The aftertaste is all tart lemon and floral tones.
Final Thoughts: It is not at all surprising that the German beer style-lovin’ brewers at Victory Brewing Company nailed a Berliner Weisse, but I’ll just go ahead and say for the record that this is truly a fantastic representation. The base beer is absolutely on point and the decision to include elderflower was a perfect choice to complement every aspect of the beer. The floral notes work in harmony with the tart citrus, and the light sweetness draws out earthy tones and that lovely, subtle vanilla presence. Blackboard #3: Berliner Weisse with Elderflower is quietly complex and incredibly satisfying thanks to the massive amount of drinkability it possesses. Simply put: a beautiful beer that is a ridiculously good choice in a summer release for both the brewer and the drinker. Prost!