While the upper U.S. West coast has a beer style to call its own (Cascadian Dark Ale), it appears that the craft beer movement in Florida has spawned a new style of beer: the Florida Weisse.
The second annual Berliner Bash on the Bay in Gulfport, Florida, was recently held on April 20 and several Florida brewers took the opportunity to showcase what exactly the Florida Weisse is all about.
A regional sour wheat beer that originated in Northern Germany, the Berliner Weisse is not superpotent –ranging anywhere from two to five percent alcohol-by-volume. Like the Berliner Weisse, the Florida Weisse is low-alcohol too. A low-ABV beer may not sound attractive compared to 13 percent-plus imperial stouts, but remember that alcohol is only a small part of its character.
Whereas a heavy emphasis is placed on hops in West coast-style ales, the Florida Weisse is different. Based on the traditional German Berliner Weisse beer, the Florida Weisse is brewed with lots of fruit–particularly tropical fruit–rather than just simply having fruited syrup added to the glass when the beer is poured. The sweetness of the syrup is supposed to balance the acidity of the beer.
“That’s the traditional way of doing it,” said Johnathan Wakefield, Miami home-brewer and owner/founder of J. Wakefield Brewing Company. “But we’re not doing anything traditional.”
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