Cape Weisse – with Franschhoek Beer Co and The Wine Thief
Cape Weisse, launching this week!
Back when times were a little more normal, and our biggest worries in life were whether to to kettle sour a beer, or co-pitch lacto, we brewed our take on a very old style German beer, the Berliner Weisse (pronounced ‘vice-er’, and not to be confused with a Weiss Bier!)
Typically a Berliner Weisse is a 50/50 mix of barley and wheat. This would be either kettle soured or co-fermented with yeast and bacteria to sour in the fermenter over time. It will then often be served with a fruit syrup (which come in various flavours and colours) to take the edge off the sourness and bring some additional flavours to suit the drinkers palate.
In actual fact, our Cape Weisse is more true to a Florida Weisse in style, which is a more modern take on the Berliner Weisse, but fermented with the addition of fruit. This has also been adapted in Europe to become a Barcelona Weisse. So we felt it apt, to name our take on this beer, a Cape Weisse, both in name and in style.
We chose to use the Cape’s most famous fruit, the grapes, in making our beer / wine hybrid. Viognier is one of my favourite white grapes, so The Wine Thief stole (not actually) these from his good friends at Opstal Estate. They were crushed by hand (feet actually!) and pitched into the fermenter with yeast and Lactobacillus and we left it to ferment away and sour at the same time. When we felt it had reached the perfect level of tartness, we threw in some Nelson Sauvin hops. This not only added some complex wine notes (think Sauvignon blanc) but it also stopped the souring as hops kill off the Lactobacillus culture.
This beer was brewed in collaboration with Franschhoek Beer Co. and The Wine Thief, for the Fools & Fans beer festival, which we were all due to attend in April. Lockdown, and the draconian measures of prohibition had other ideas, so we decided to bulk mature the beer until a time we could all enjoy it together! That time is now! Join us on Thursday 24th September at Franschhoek Beer Co. for a Heritage Day celebration.
Time has certainly changed the Cape Weisse, the sourness has mellowed and the complex notes from the Viognier grapes have really come to the foreground. At 4.5% abv. and beautifully carbonated, this is a great daytime alternative to that glass of wine. Hope to see you there!