Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Rocks Brewing Sauv Blanc Berliner Weisse

1) The first thing I thought when I tasted this beer was “jeez, that’s tart”. And I kept thinking it all the way through to the end of the glass. For this is not like many other berliner weisses, where your palate gradually becomes acclimatised to the characteristics and what seemed like it was sharp at the start, gradually becomes less so. It just keeps on keeping on.

2) A large part of the reason for the persistent tartness is the presence of grape juice here. Blended into the beer is unfermented sauvignon blanc grape juice from the 2018 Hunter Valley harvest. It’s called an “experimental fusion” and the working on the can leads me to suspect other sorts of fusions might be in the pipeline.

3) Using wine in beer could be about to become the next thing in brewing (like the NEIPA fad). This is the third beer in about a month using wine. Hope Brewhouse, situated smack in the wine-growing Hunter region has released two imperial IPAs – one with chardonnay juice and another with semillon (cheers to the always reliable Crafty Pint website for that observation).

4) I’m not exactly sure how the wine juice is added here. I’d take a guess and say it’s post-fermentation so the yeast doesn’t get to chew up all the sugars in the juice and turn it into alcohol – because this berliner weisse is just 3.8 per cent.

5) In terms of what you get for your money here, there is that almost eye-watering tartness I mentioned earlier (which is played up a bit via the addition of the polarising Sorachi Ace hop). On the nose I picked up some grapefruit and bread characters – definitely not the sauv blanc aromas I was expecting. The flavour too is not specifically sauv blanc either – it definitely has the sharpness of a white wine but just not a flavour specifically identifiable as one style. I find the berliner weisse style is good on warm days, the tartness can be really refreshing when the sun is really letting you know it’s around. So it is a little odd Rocks looked to release this beer days before the start of winter.


Free or paid for?: This can was one of several different beers I bought on a recent jaunt to Crown West Cellars right here in Wollongong.

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