Review: Jack’s Abby Cranberry Berliner

Review of Jack’s Abby Cranberry Berliner from Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers in Framingham, MA.

Beer Type: Berliner Weisse  ABV: 3.5%  Tried from bottle.

Their Description: “Our ode to summer. By implementing a sour mash procedure in our kettle an intense lactic and sour character emerges, complemented by the addition of cranberries. The beer is then fermented with our lager yeast. Finishes fruity, citrusy, dry, and quite tart.”

The Reality: This beer starts with a medium golden color and a tart citrusy scent. You expect a bold flavor, but the taste is actually light, crisp and wheaty with a nice tart kick. It is not aggressively sour or acidic, especially when compared to some other Berliner Weisses I’ve had. The cranberry is very subtle and only comes through in the finish, but that’s appropriate for this beer. The aftertaste is dry and fruity but fades quickly. This beer is bright, refreshing and easy-drinking.

Final Verdict: When you see the name “Cranberry Berliner” you can help but think it’s going to be all about the cranberry. However, that’s really not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, the unique dry bitter tartness that only comes from a cranberry is detectible, mostly in the finish, but it certainly isn’t center stage. In fact, nothing in this beer is center stage. It’s drinks quite light with a low ABV (3.5%) and is very smooth with a lot of thirst-quenching qualities. The flavor isn’t weak, but it’s not bold either. This beer is so flat-out drinkable that if it came in bigger quantities than a single oversized bottle it would be gone in a flash, and you’d be looking for someone to blame. Maybe your pet cockatoo enjoys this twist on the classic Berliner style and chugged some when you turned your back. Maybe your creepy neighbor Chad has been peering over the fence wearing nothing but socks, waiting for you to leave the room so he can silently sneak in and pilfer this brewed treat. Maybe you should look in a mirror you beer lush…