Wheat Beer Week: Festina Pêche

Wheat Beer WeekWhen I first picked up Dogfish Head’s Festina Pêche, I didn’t know that it was brewed in the style of the (rare-ish) Berliner Weisse. (You can see the point in my tasting notes when I figured this out.)

Berliner Weisses are sour wheat beers, typically low in alcohol. Dogfish’s own page has a good summary:

A refreshing neo-Berliner Weisse fermented with honest-to-goodness peaches to (get this!) 4.5% abv! Because extreme beers don’t have to be extremely boozy!

Sadly, there are only two breweries left in Berlin still brewing the Berliner Weisse style which is characterized by its intense tartness. There were once over 70 breweries in Berlin alone making this beer! In addition to fermentation with an ale yeast, Berliner Weisse is traditionally fermented with lactic cultures to produce its acidic or green apple-like character. It is delicately hopped with a pale straw color and served as an aperitif or summertime quencher. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.

Festina PêcheThe peaches are an interesting touch; you don’t see too many beers brewed with them.

Appearance: Very pale, straw-colored and hazy… rough white head that collapsed quickly.

Smell: Delicate peach and a tart note… kind of crisp with a touch of wheat. Mild.

Taste: Very sour! Tart and puckery, lemon over the mild peach character. Or like a very tart (underripe?) peach… ah. A "neo Berliner style Weisse", so that explains it. It’s pretty tasty, if a surprise.

Mouthfeel: Sour, puckery, very clean, very crisp, light-bodied.

Overall: Unusual but tasty once I figured it out. The peach isn’t as strong as I would’ve thought, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a grade of B. On RateBeer, it scores 3.27 out of 5 and is in their 67th percentile.