The Return of the Blackberry Feyborn
This week, Down The Road is ecstatic to announce the return of the Blackberry Feyborn Berliner Weisse. This is the original Feyborn, released back in 2016 as the first fruited sour we ever produced. We’ve grown so much in that time, but there are some classics that never fade, and this girl is one of them. Keep reading to find out more about one of DTR’s most popular beers - the Feyborn Berliner Weisse.
Who is the Feyborn?
If you’ve read the side of any of the cans of Feyborn, you know a little about this mischievous little imp. The Feyborn is a Changeling, a faerie that pops up in all kinds of European folklore. This creature is a doppelganger of sorts - it assumes the form of a human child in order to live among us and be coddled by its doting surrogate parents.
In medieval society, the myth of the Changeling served as a way for folk to explain away all the anxieties and unexplainable strangeness of raising kids. Wild child born to good, God-fearing folk? Gotta be a Changeling. Lazy kid who never wants to do hard work? Changeling, for sure. Healthy kid gets sick out of nowhere? Must have been a Changeling who wanted to get back to Faerie Land. Every human generation has struggled to understand the enigma that is children, and for the cultures that existed before child psychology was a real discipline, Changelings were a convenient explanation for all sorts of strange behavior.
Our artist, Nikki Rossignol, has an uncanny ability of capturing the souls of her subjects in her paintings. Even when depicting the most wacky, fantastical creatures, there is a fire in their eyes that transcends her medium. Sometimes cute, sometimes unsettling or outright scary, her phantasmagoria comes from a place of dreams, but it is tethered in reality.
Part of this effect comes from her use of real people for model references. All sorts of people pose for Nikki - brewmaster Donovan is the main figure on the “Henzelmann’s Festbier” label, and most of the sales and production team showed up on “Golden City.” Nikki herself shows up twice as the two mermaids on Undine Double IPA, but one little girl has had more DTR label appearances than anyone: Nikki’s daughter, Elke.
She might not be old enough to drink, but, whether she knows it or not, Elke is kind of a big deal at Down The Road. Check out this reference photo for the strawberry rhubarb Feyborn we brewed last summer:
Traditional Beer for a Modern Age
Berliner Weisse has been a popular beer in Germany for generations. This uniquely sour, pale wheat beer is intentionally exposed to bacteria to spike its acidity. Typically this is accomplished by lowering the pH of the beer with lactobacillus, a common probiotic that is used for everything from bolstering people’s immune systems to creating yogurt to protecting plant roots from harmful bacteria. Human’s typically perceive acid as sour, which is why citric acid is used by the candy industry to make things like sour gummies. The lactobacillus used in Berliner Weisse produces lactic acid, which gives the beer its delightfully refreshing tartness.
In Germany, it is common practice to serve Berliner Weisse “mit schuss” (with sauce) which means the sour base beer is supplemented with a sidecar of fruit syrup. Popular flavors include raspberry, cherry and, even more traditionally, Woodruff - an herbal concoction with a distinct green hue. The Feyborn is the commercial evolution of the Berliner mit schuss. We can’t exactly give you a fruit cup with every beer, but by adding the fruit directly, we can do a pretty good imitation of this German classic.
Welcome to Spring
Fruited Berliners are the perfect companion to spring. They are light, crisp and infinitely drinkable. Whether you’re daydrinking your way through May or craving a refreshing way to take the edge off while cleaning up all that nor’easter mess in your backyard, the Feyborn has you covered. Crack a blackberry Berliner and embrace your inner wild child.