As popular as canned beer and fruited Berliner weisses are, the two seem to rarely meet. Not long ago, Florida Avenue Brewing Co. (a division of Tampa’s Brew Bus Brewing) put out a very nice raspberry Berliner, filling the gap with a light, fruity and very refreshing brew. Now, the brewery has a new one flavored with blueberries that’s even better.
Blueberry is a tough ingredient when it comes to flavoring beer. While it’s great at dramatically coloring a beer — indeed, Florida Avenue’s latest is straight-up magenta — blueberry’s flavor is easily overpowered by a flavorful base brew.
Berliner weisse is an ideal canvas for delicate fruits like this one, offering a light, effervescent base to showcase the modest flavor to go with the bold color.
Berliners are, of course, naturally tart, as are blueberries themselves, to some degree. Whether by ripeness or sheer volume, Florida Avenue’s Blueberry Berliner is drenched in sweet blueberry flavor, as if it contains a dialed-down version of blueberry pie filling.
This is no dessert beer, though. While the sweetness of the blueberry is apparent, it’s never overpowering, instead acting as a natural foil to the lactic tartness of the base beer.
These ingredients alone might have very pronounced characteristics, but together, they form a very balanced beer that’s just sweet and just tart enough — a satisfying and rich fruit brew made with a fruit that’s notoriously subtle in most beers.
Blueberry and Berliner fans alike will be glad to know that this beer is widely available in distribution throughout the Tampa Bay area. Check your local beer store for singles, or pick it up in canned four-packs. Alternatively, swing by Brew Bus Brewing (4101 N Florida Ave., Tampa), where you’ll find it on draft.
— Justin Grant
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