Mischief Managed Blend No. 2 - 4.5% ABV
Monday Night Brewing Garage (Atlanta, Georgia)
Wine Barrel-Aged Raspberry Berliner Weisse
Mischief Managed pours a really, really pretty ruby/ pink — think the Philosopher's Stone in the sunlight — and reminds me a little bit of champagne? The bubbles on the top are light and airy, and they dissipate really quickly to reveal a clear, pink beer with teeny tiny bubbles floating up throughout.
When I first poured the beer, there was a light, fruity/berry nose with a little bit of funk behind it, probably from the tartness? But after the beer has settled a little bit, the fruit makes its way to the forefront, and it's just nice and juicy.
On first sip, you get hit with the tartness of the beer. It's not pucker-inducing, but rather just a little more tart than you'd expect from fresh berries. The beer also finishes dry on the middle of the tongue.
Mischief Managed was aged in sauvignon blanc barrels, and the finish reminds me of a good, dry white wine. It's like the beer has a nice flavor cut-off, giving you a fresh palette for the next sip.
A larger sip gives you that juicy quality you'd want out of a fruity berliner weisse. The raspberry flavor is really bold, and the beer is super crisp and clean. A critique I've had of some other beers has been that generic "berry" flavor, where you can't totally parse out which berry is dominant, even if you know what it should be. That's not the case of this beer. Raspberry all the way.
Other than the dry finish, I don't get a lot of notes from sauvignon blanc, which I would expect to be more citrus-y or even tropical in flavor. It might be that the tartness overwhelms those flavors, or that I just can't pick them out, but either way I'm not disappointed in the flavors that come through. (Although, I am disappointed that I didn't get to try the second blend of Mischief Managed, which included Georgia peaches and probably fired on all cylinders as far as sauv blanc-aged wines goes).
Another thing that stands out with this beer is that it's not overly carbonated. I've come across some sours that feel overwhelmingly bubbly, and mixed with the tartness it's just too much, but the smoothness of the mouthfeel really melds well with the juicy flavors of this beer.
I really enjoyed this beer, and there were definitely parts of it that stood out from some of the other raspberry berliner weisses in my life, including mouthfeel, distinct raspberry-ness, juiciness and dry finish. The only thing that knocks this one down a notch is the fact that I couldn't parse out any wine notes, and my mind keeps wandering to the peach beer.
This is definitely worth picking up, though, if you're looking for a slightly higher-brow berliner weisse.