Thursday, December 12, 2013

Grasslands Big Bend Muscadine Berliner Weisse

This is a recurring monthly series in which I taste and share my thoughts on a different beer from Grasslands Brewing Co. as they progress on their journey to open their doors to thirsty craft beer lovers (2014).  Grasslands is an up-and-coming brewery out of Tallahassee, Fl. that centers their philosophy on making quality "earth first ales." I will taste pilot batches and share my thoughts with the BeerApostle community. You can read past posts about Grasslands beer in the archive section of this blog. 

Brewery:  Grasslands Brewery
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Style:Florida Weisse
ABV: 3%

One thing I absolutely love about Grasslands is how deliberate they are in using local ingredients when possible.  Big Bend Muscadine was infused with local Muscadine wine grapes, adding some local flair to this otherwise German style beer.

This beer was sent to me with a personal letter describing the beer from founder and head brewer, Gabe Grass. This letter (which is something he provides to everyone in the Grasshopper Review Club) states that this is the first batch in what Gabe is planning will become a seasonal beer for Grasslands. Here is some additional context that was included in the letter:
Here's what we're going for in this specific seasonal: A low gravity, medium-bodied weisse with complementing sweet & sour flavors and aromas. Big Bend Muscadine Berliner Weisse #1 was brewed in Oct. 2013 and bottled in Oct. 2013.
Out of the bottle, Big Bend pours a deep orange color with a pure white head. The carbonation visibly dances in the glass and releases a beautiful aroma of sweet and citrus fruits, yeast, and wine scents.

The flavor is where the true complexity comes out.  The Muscadine grapes play a big role and contribute to the sweetness that first hits the palate. Grasslands previously described this ale as a "sweet and sour" Berliner, and that is exactly what this is! The sweetness quickly turns into a fun tartness that leaves your lips puckering for more!  There's a bready-yeasty flavor that provides a nice, neutral foundation for all of the sweet and sour flavors. The aftertaste is reminiscent of lemonade: crisp and cleansing to the palate.

This beer is incredibly refreshing! The combination of citrus and fructose flavors lend themselves well to the sourness that comes from the Lactobacillus (Lacto) bacteria and Brettanomyces (Brett) yeast  that Gabe uses in this recipe. And at just 3% ABV, this is a beer you can literally drink one after the other.

Overall, I am in love with this beer. I love the added complexity from the Muscadine grapes. Grasslands infuses a lot of flavors without being overpowering. The tartness is wonderful and refreshing. I would like to have one (or three) of these after mowing the lawn in the summer!

Interested in becoming a Grasshopper?

If you're interested in getting your hands on any of Grasslands' brews before 2014, register for their Grasshoppers Club which is your ticket in to getting exclusive releases from the brewery before they open. As a Grasshopper, you'll be eligible to enter the monthly lottery drawings to sample beer and provide critical feedback that may contribute to the final product. You can also check out Grasslands on Twitter and Facebook for more information.



  1. That's exactly how I would describe it. Very refreshing and like you say with just 3% ABV you could just keep on drinking this great beer. Gabe really has made a brew in the Berliner Weisse.

    1. Many, many thanks, Brett! I believe you got the regular Berliner, right? That sucker was definitely wayyyy too carbed, but I'd wager it brought out the sour notes all the more, eh?

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Brian! The Berliner is an extremely versatile style and the beauty is that you're so flexible with a 3-5% ABV range...add in that it should be consumed relatively fresh and you get a really good sense of the ingredients added. On top of that, this beer is very, VERY easy to brew on a pilot system. Low intensity pilot brews make for a happy brewer! :) Many more where this came from! - We've actually got another in the pipeline that's been dryhopped with a heavy tropical citrus hop!