Napoleon's Champagne: Our ever-changing Berliner Weisse
Have you been in for a Sunday Sour session yet? We made a traditional Berliner Weisse and treated small batches of it to create several very special, limited edition versions of it! Our Napoleon’s Champagne is worth bragging on and, in our eyes, could have lived up to the French ruler’s standards.
Let me begin by explaining this particular style. Sours are so big right now in the beer world. It really seems like everyone has one on the menu, some breweries even specialize in them. However, they are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. They are tart as the style suggests, sometimes refreshing and other times pretty unusual. As much as they strip away my enamel and make my teeth sore (sounds appealing, I know), I am hooked and so are many others.
Sours are, often times, difficult to create as they do not follow the traditional brewing process. We chose to do a kettle sour in order to make our Napoleon’s Champagne. If you’re like me, you probably asked yourself, what the hell does ‘kettle souring’ mean? Why is it special? Compared to a traditional sour, this process takes significantly less time and often less money to create. Rather than waiting for a beer to sour after the brewing process has taken place, lactic acid is introduced into the wort through the introduction of bacteria. Remember the wort is the liquid that is pulled from the grains after the mash. That is what goes into the boil kettle! Lactic acid helps to drop the pH. If you remember anything you learned about the pH scale in your middle and high school science classes, lower pH means more acidic and thus more SOUR. Pretty cool!
There are different types of sour beers out there. We chose to pop our sour cherry with a Berliner Weisse for a few reasons. The first being that this particular beer is one of the less funky, easier to drink sours out there. Spring Hill is still moving up in the beer world, and we’ve been introducing our patrons to as many styles of beer as we can when they come to see us. That being said, we don’t want to scare people away. We want people to enjoy themselves, learn, and branch out. The second reason being that Dave is a total history buff! Whenever we can, we like to incorporate the background behind particular beers as much as the science that goes into creating it. The Berliner Weisse was the French military leader, Napoleon’s, drink of choice having discovered it when his troops invaded and took Prussia.
We have treated our guests to Napoleon's Champagne POG Edition which is inspired by my time living on Oahu and enjoying all of the local treats. For those who are constantly curious, POG stands for Passion fruit, Orange, and Guava. We followed that up with our Mojitio Edition which was a refreshing take on the classic mixed drink. Kudos to assistant brewer, Chad, for the idea behind that one! We released our ode to Shark Week with Blood in the Water. We took our Napoleon's and added in Pomegranate juice and a hibiscus tea blend to create something bright, floral, and the prettiest hue of red. Our last batch was treated very simply with pineapple. Surprisingly, it was not very easy to get flavor out of this fruit! We added several pounds of pineapple puree in addition to pineapple juice.
We are still pouring our regular Berliner in the taproom, but for all of you sour patch kids out there, we have just begun releasing our special treatments of our Gose. This type of sour is unique in that it is brewed with salt! We have treated that one with some fun combinations as well: Black Currant, Mango-Papaya-Habanero, and Watermelon. Look out for more information on that under ‘Our Beers’ or on social media!