Style: Berliner Weisse
I may have just decided that Berliner Weisse are the best destination for fruit in beer.
With Berliner Weisse, you have a sour ale that's not given the chance to develop the years of complexity and hard-earned funk you'll find in, say, lambic. You have a fairly straightforward lactic sourness, a light-bodied, tart, puckering thirst quencher. Most fruits are both sweet and tart, so a burst of juicy character should easily add to the balance of a great Berliner, or even send it further down the sour road. You can get a real summertime picnic going without devolving into bland uniformity. Enter Night Shift Ever Weisse — probably one of the best Berliners I've had, and easily one of the best fruit beers.
Brewed with strawberry, kiwis and hibiscus, Ever Weisse is a real medley of tart flavors. This is immediately apparent in the nose, which smells like acidic, funky fruit punch. None of the three particularly stand out over the others, but that's okay — their unison creates a really pleasing balance, a general amalgam of "red" aromas. The taste is lip-smackingly tart, and maybe since I have it in my head that strawberry flavor is more conventionally sweet, the kiwi fruit seems to provide the bulk of the tartness. Still, there's nothing one dimensional about Ever Weisse, and in fact I get a whole cocktail of undertones suggesting things that aren't even in this brew: a dry white grape character, sour cherry, and some really citric grapefruit. I'm not entirely sure what hibiscus tastes like, to be perfectly honest, but I know it's supposed to be tart and floral, which fits right in with what I'm getting here.
An excessive fruit addition is an easy way to wreck the balance of your beer, but Night Shift's Ever Weisse sells both games at once; half Sour Patch kid, half multi-layered elixir. Brace yourself for intense fruit, intense sourness, and drink on a warm summer night. Then put that bottle on display, 'cause their labels are some of the classiest around.
Availability: Seasonal release. 750 ml bottle.