Florida Weisse: Our Own Style of Beer
Of course, the new style is not without its haters. There is a considerable debate raging about this style on ratebeer.com. Some purists believe the amount of sweetness is comparable to a can of Coke, while others think the Florida Weisse should be categorized as a sour or a wild ale. Others think the style is not yet widespread enough, although more than a half dozen breweries from across state who converged upon the Berliner Bash brewed their own version of Florida Weisse.
Opinions may vary on all of the particulars, but the main differences--aside from geographical distinctions (the style comes from Pajottenland region of Belgium) are the types of bacteria and yeast. Where a lambic introduces Pediococcus bacteria and wild yeast strain Brettanomyces into the brewing process, a Florida Weisse has none of this. Apart from these characteristics, the taste of a Florida Weisse is less sour and considered more complex than a lambic.
The added fruit to the Florida Weisse is meant to extract the fruit flavors into the beer, and whatever else the fruit might lend. Take, for instance, passionfruit, which is very tart and therefore the tartness would be added.
And it all depends on the type of fruit that is used. The stronger the fruit flavor, the less that is needed. However, with light-flavored fruits such as strawberries or grapes, more is preferred to get the heavy fruit taste.
Another Wakefield brew and Cigar City pilot, Miami Madness, was ranked by ratebeer.com as number 13 among the top 50 beers in the world last January. Miami Madness is brewed with guava, passion fruit and mango.
"I've already incorporated mamey into an American ale and have some cool plans in the works to get my Florida Weisse feet wet," said Argudin, who is working on his own brewery start-up, Sexy Llama Brewing Company.
The second Berliner Bash saw a nearly four-fold increase in attendance from last year, from approximately 150 to 500. The brewers increased their turnout as well, going from four to 14, with Florida brewers such as Funky Buddha, Proof, Angry Chair, Green Room, Three Palms and Intuition brewing companies all pouring Berliners, some fruited and some not.
After the success of the festival, brewers may want to think twice about not brewing the Florida Weisse.
"I think we created something with a lot of steam and a lot of head behind it," Wakefield said. "No one else is doing this."