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In Defense of Woodruff Syrup

The current popularity of Berliner weisse has brought an endless supply of flavors to the low-ABV, tart wheat ale. This means woodruff syrup has been left behind. We need to keep the sweet green liquid part of our beer tradition, argues our senior editor.

John Holl Jul 19, 2019 - 5 min read

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The word came down in early October 2014 that the Nodding Head brewpub in Philadelphia would close by month’s end. This was back during a simpler time in beer when closures weren’t all that common, so news of the closure bounced far and wide.

Among the emails and social- media laments was a common refrain: Not only were we losing a beloved brewery but also its flagship beer, Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weisse, which was first served in 2000 and is largely credited with introducing the then-obscure style to curious American drinkers.

The following day I was on a train to the City of Brotherly Love for one last (okay, three last) taste of the slightly acidic, tart wheat ale. Each time, I asked for a drop or two of woodruff syrup.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.