The dog days of summer are upon us. Between oppressive temperatures and people steaming mad over DDB writing for other sites, neckbeard taints are getting braised like osso bucco this August. Let’s bring things down to a more temperate climate and review some fruited Berliners. Relax, have a capri sun, talk shit anonymously on old DDB and savor some sweet fruit juices. Let’s avoid inclement nutsack heat and embrace ice cold refreshing peach scrotums for a change.
Today we have a new upstart from Minnesota that I have high hopes for, and a Dickensian underdog from Placentia that I expect to be a sulfuric mess. Let’s squeeze them peaches until the juice runs down your leg.
August Schell Starkeller Peach
7.2% abv, fruited “berliner”
“Starkbier Berliner Weisse aged on Peaches. This strong Berliner Weisse was brewed with an extensive decoction mash schedule and fermented with an authentic mixed culture then aged it for nearly a year in our original 1936 cypress wood lagering tanks before 5,500 pounds of peaches were added for a four month, tertiary fermentation.”
The Bruery Hottenroth with Peaches
3.7 % abv
The look of the Starkeller is a complete trub cake mess. It is almost like they tossed the top 85% and racked only the bottom yeast slurry, replete with peach tannins. When people first were ISO this beer I was like “here we go another Pizza Boy trainwreck” and held my breath for that Jamba Juice fruit fingering.
The Peach Hotty surprisingly has its shit completely together this time around and is nothing like the Mango hoarders only treat from last year. After the mango mess and the warning emails I prepared for the worst and then Bruery trolled the fuck out of me by making a beautiful beer with ample carb. OC breweries always pulling DDBs pants down and slapping them peaches. WHEN WILL I LEARN.
The nose on the starkeller is overwhelming peach purée, waves upon waves of not only peach blossom but the pithy fruit almost going to this autolyzed over-fruited/over-saturated level. It feels like the platonic form of Peach, upper case “P.” Emerging from the dogmatic berliner cave attempting to apprehend this stone fruit blast is too much truth to apprehend.
The hottenroth is nimble and presents a fantastic degree of peach but never overshadows the base beer, which is both awesome and atypical of Bruery to exhibit balance and poise in fruited wild ales. There is the lemon and brackish salinity of the base Hotty and then a Haribo peach ring and Orange jolly rancher blast acting in tandem and not screaming over one another like some Ann Coulter peach debate.
The mouthfeel of the Starkeller is creamy and frothy with a heft that coats layers upon layers of sticky sherwin williams peachy discharge. It is magnificent and almost too much at the same time, taking down a whole bottle of this is like binge watching Kurosawa films where the pure unbridled focus becomes draining in longer sessions. I wonder if the massive grist and pith of the fruit will metabolize down over time, but when enjoyed fresh it almost feels like Peach Bu with a 12 hour boil. It is berliner concentrate. It is a Denny’s soup at 3 am, fruit soup DISTILLED to a powerful new form.
The Hottenroth is less impressive in the mouthfeel and feels watery and insubstantial by contrast. Then again, it has HALF THE FUCKING ALCOHOL CONTENT. Some might argue “hey, how about a 7.2% abv beer isn’t a berliner at all? How about that shit?” Then Southampton would step in with their UBERLINER and the discussion would go off the rails.
Both seem to be coextensive poles of peach extremities. If you mixed the two you would have the flawless Fruit Megazord but both leave something wanting by themselves. The peach in the taste profile is present but the Hottenroth seems to embrace a berliner first while wearing a Peach carnation in its lapel so you can recognize it on the railway platform.
So what is the verdict between these two stoners? I think overall peach hottenroth is unquestionably the better beer overall and exhibits better balance and crushability. The starkeller is more “memorable” and extreme so if you have those palate widening inclinations, It will take you into its peach room of pain. They both trade at completely reasonable sub de Garde levels and are well worth your time, and knowing CA traders, they will probably fuqqqn extra away this delicious society only beer and MN traders give an equally low amount of fucks. Deals abound.