Berliner Weisse is a top-fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer made with both traditional warm-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus culture. They have a rapidly vanishing head and a clear, pale golden straw-colored appearance. The taste is refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, with a lemony-citric fruit sharpness and almost no hop bitterness.
Examples: West Sixth Berliner Weiss, Mikkeller Hallo Berliner, Dogfish Head Festina Peche
Similar to a Hefeweizen, these southern Germany wheat beers are brewed as darker versions (Dunkel means “dark”) with deliciously complex malts and a low balancing bitterness. Most are brown and murky (from the yeast). The usual clove and fruity (banana) characters will be present, some may even taste like banana bread.
Examples: Weihenstephaner Dunkelweizen, Franziskaner Dunkel, Hofbrau Dunkelweizen
An old German beer style from Leipzig, Gose is an unfiltered wheat beer made with 50-60% malted wheat, which creates a cloudy yellow color and provides a refreshing crispness and twang. A Gose will have a low hop bitterness and a complementary dryness and spice from the use of ground coriander seeds and a sharpness from the addition of salt. Like Berliner Weisse beers, a Gose will sometimes be laced with various flavored and colored syrups. This is to balance out the addition of lactic acid that is added to the boil.
Examples: Goodwood Hemp Gose, Avery El Gose, Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose
A south German style of wheat beer (weissbier) made with a typical ratio of 50:50, or even higher, wheat. A yeast that produces unique phenolic flavors of banana and cloves with an often dry and tart edge, some spiciness, bubblegum or notes of apples. Little hop bitterness, and a moderate level of alcohol. The “Hefe” prefix means “with yeast”, hence the beers unfiltered and cloudy appearance. Poured into a traditional Weizen glass, the Hefeweizen can be one sexy looking beer.
Examples: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Franziskaner Hefe-weisse, Erdinger Weissebier
First only brewed in Köln, Germany, now many American brewpubs and a hand full of breweries have created their own version of this obscure style. Light to medium in body with a very pale color, hop bitterness is medium to slightly assertive. A somewhat vinous (grape-y from malts) and dry flavor make up the rest.
Examples: Kentucky Kolsch, White Squirrel Kolsch, Reissdorf Kolsch
A more powerful Dunkel Weizen (of “bock strength”), with a pronounced estery alcohol character, perhaps some spiciness from this, and bolder and more complex malt characters of dark fruits.
Examples: Schneider Weisse Aventinus, Victory Moonglow, Weihenstephaner Vitus