Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Oshkosh Beer Sampler: Framboise Du Nord

A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.

What: Framboise Du Nord brewed by August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm, Minnesota.

Where: The retail beer shop in Gardina’s in Oshkosh. They sell it in caged-and-corked 25 oz. bottles for $13.50.

Why: For starters it’s an interesting take on an old style of wheat ale, but more importantly it’s delicious. At it’s base this is a Berliner Weisse, a tart and acidic style of German ale that has its origins in the middle-ages. These days, it’s often served with a dollop of woodruff or raspberry syrup to cut the beer’s sourness. Schell’s saves you the trouble by adding a few tons of raspberries to the beer at the end of primary fermentation. That big dump of fruit kicks in another round of fermentation that leaves the beer light bodied and intensely aromatic.

At my house, it went down like this...
Pour... Effervescent and pink with a brittle, white head that dwindles quickly.
Aroma... Raspberry jam with some lemony candy on the side.
Taste... Raspberry... and then more raspberry. Then sweet and tart apples. Along the way, a pleasant and milky sourness balancing the sweetness. Finishes fast and very dry.

A winner in every respect. Think of it as a German version of a Lambic. True to style, this is a low-alcohol beer with an ABV of just 3.7%. To make the most of it, serve a generous pour in a large, bowl-shaped schooner. For a few moments of bliss, pair it with smoked fish.

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