Beer Man: North Coast goes tart with cranberry-quince brew – Appleton Post Crescent

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Berliner Weisse(Photo: Todd Haefer/For USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)Buy Photo

Berliner Weisse Cranberry-Quince Beer
North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, Calif.
4.1 percent ABV

This immediately jumped out as a very smartly made beer — the sour German wheat style mixed with two fruits that are naturally tart.

However, only one of the fruits really stood out, but it still made for an overall lip-smacking beer.

Nearly all cranberry recipes call for the addition of sugar and for good reason — it is a tart, sour fruit. This works to its advantage when mixed with the sour German weisse style.

It is common in regions of Germany to add fruit syrups, such as cherry, raspberry and the green-colored woodruff, to Berliner weisse beer. So adding the cranberry makes sense. The main difference is that unlike the sweet syrups, the cranberries in North Coast’s offering kept the sour aspect of the beer.

Quince is a fruit unfamiliar to me, except for seeing the occasional jar of quince jelly. It is related to apples and pears, is high in pectin and generally sour. I read that it is nearly inedible raw and releases aromas of vanilla when cooked.

Every description I’ve read about quince indicates it is worthless raw, or “an acquired taste” or takes cooking in order to mix it in with other fruits. It seems to me to be one of those oddball fruits that are better substituted by something more popular, like apples or pears.

The cranberries provided most of the flavor to the North Coast Berliner, which also had a tart lemony background that is a staple of the style. I did not taste anything in the beer to indicate that the quince added anything significant to the flavor.

Despite that, however, the Berliner was an excellent beer.

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