Beer Review 0389: The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse

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The Bruery opened in 2008, the home brew product of Patrick, Chris, and Rachel Rue. Patrick and Chris are brothers; Rachel is the wife of Chris. The first home brew batch the three made was an amber ale with Cascade hops; as the years went by, Patrick, who was going to law school, saw his beer passion become bigger than his law studies. He decided the rest of his life should be dedicated to making beer, so he got loans and started The Bruery, which is a fusion of his last name, and well… Brewery.

Located in Placentia, California, most of The Bruery’s beers are considered to be experimentations brewed in the Belgian tradition. None of their beers are filtered or pasteurized; all are bottle conditioned and use a proprietary Belgian yeast strain.

Hottenroth, a Berliner Weisse, has to be a special beer for The Bruery, as it is made in memory of Patrick’s grandparents, Fred and Sarah Hottenroth. The beer fits the Berliner Weisse style to a tee, coming in at just 3.1% ABV (alcohol by volume) and using lactobacillus and brettanomyces yeasts to sour the base wheat ale. Traditionally, Berliner Weisse beers are served with raspberry or woodruff syrup as a way to sweeten the beer. The bottle even mentions this serving suggestion, but we’ll just sample the beer sans any kind of syrup for this review.

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The pour issued up a large collar of bright white foam, frothy in texture, fast diminishing. The beer was pale straw yellow in color, even paler than industrial macro-lager. The body was cloudy but contained no particles or sediment; it should be noted that the back of the bottle asks you to not disturb sediment at the bottom of the container. Lacing never existed.

On the nose, there’s some initial Granny Smith apple, tart and unripened, coupled with apple cider vinegar. There’s a solid wheat backing, which plays off well with the doughy, earthen yeast that is just a touch funky. I also pulled out a little pear and lemongrass.

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The taste has a lot of tart apple up front, a gentle sourness, and then it all shuts off, only leaving a wheat flavor — it’s like the beer goes dead until the swallow, when the finish comes on moderately sour. The beer finally gives up all its flavors; unripened apple, pears, and a dash of lemon meet straw, and the finish leaves quickly. After a few seconds following the sip, the only thing left is some cereal grain. Light-bodied, Hottenroth has a light mouthfeel, foamy when swirled, and an average carbonation.

This beer is quite refreshing as Berliner Weisse tend to be, but it’s really light on flavor. Yeah, that’s the point, to a certain extent…but toward the end of my glass, this became like drinking tart water with a little apple flavoring. You can tell this is a well-made offering, but the value doesn’t match what’s here, in my opinion. It does work great on a hot, sunny day.

The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, 81 points. Price: $8.99 US for one 750 ml bottle.

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