Berliner weisse—the tart, estery German pale wheat beer—is traditionally served with a spoonful of syrup. Order the stuff in a Berlin beer garden, and your server will ask whether you want red or green (that’s raspberry or woodruff). The beer’s delightful served neat; its light pucker, derived from lactobacillus yeast, reads as clean and refreshing, and its ultralow ABV makes it the sour lover’s session beer. But a dose of the sweet stuff adds a shot of flavor that’s simply more playful than, say, an orange wedge. While the beer geeks scoff, keep your pint artisanal by making the syrup yourself; it’s a breeze to cook up, and it doubles as a sweetener for iced tea and cocktails.
DIY: BASIC SIMPLE SYRUP In a saucepot over medium heat, bring equal parts sugar and water to a simmer. Stir until sugar completely dissolves. For flavor-infused syrup, wait until the sugar dissolves, then add herbs, fruit or spices and let steep, uncovered, until the flavor reaches the strength you desire. Make simple syrup up to six months ahead and store it, sealed, in the refrigerator.