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Review: Night Shift Somer Weisse

Posted by Gary Dzen, Staff  July 30, 2012 10:11 AM

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Summer drinks are evolving, away from sticky-sweet, rum-based concoctions and toward refreshing drinks that play bitter, sour, and sweet flavors off each other. Anyone who's been to Italy and ordered an Aperol or Campari Spritz knows that a summer drink doesn't have to be sweet to be refreshing.

somerweisse.jpgSummer beers are evolving as well; they don't have to be overwhelmingly lemony, and you shouldn't need to put a lime in them to choke them down. One style of beer that has seen a resurgence is the Berliner Weiss style, which originated around Berlin, Germany starting in the 17th century. The main characteristic of this style is a mild sourness and tartness, which has led to it being called the "Champagne of the North".

Everett's Night Shift Brewing offers up a twist on the classic Berliner Weiss beer with their Somer Weisse. I took home a bottle of this last week and enjoyed it on a hot day.

The beer pours a pale, fizzy yellow, with a nice head that quickly dissipates. The brewery says the twist on the classic style is the addition of lemongrass and ginger notes, and you can smell both. It smells a little sour and just the slightest bit funky.

The first sip is tart. The ginger is forward, as is the citrus. Unlike a traditional summer beer, however, the flavors are sour and complex as opposed to being sweet. The mouthfeel is more like drinking seltzer than drinking a beer. It tastes, in other words, like the kind of summer cocktail you get at a bar that knows how to make a proper summer cocktail. It could be a little more dry, but that's nitpicking.

Night Shift has made four batches of this beer. I got batch three, which was bottled on June 18. The beer has an alcohol content of 4.9 percent. A bottle costs around $10 for a 750-ml bottle. A fourth batch was bottled on July 21.

This is a good introduction to a refreshing sour beer. Compare it to Dogfish Head's Festina Peche, another Berliner Weiss. In Germany a syrup is sometimes added to these beers to make the sourness more palatable, but I think the style stands up on its own.

E-mail me ( and start a conversation. Follow me on Twitter. Cheers.

Gary Dzen

About 99 Bottles

Gary Dzen writes about craft beer here and in the Globe when he's not covering the Celtics for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GaryDzen.

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