The Thirsty Scholar: Summer is for hefeweizen
by mimivanderhaven.com on 08/17/2012 - 10:32 am
Category: Smart Living
by Matt Lasher
Light, refreshing and without too much bitterness, the hefeweizen is the quintessential summer beer.
Native to the southern German state of Bavaria, the hefeweizen (pronounced HEH-feh-vite-zehn) is the exception to “The Rule”—and in this case the rule is the Reinheitsgebot.
The Reinheitsgebot, also known as the German Purity Law of 1516, ensured that only beer made from malted barley, water, and hops could be brewed and sold in Germany. But fortunately, Bavarian royalty had developed a preference for weizenbier (literally “wheat beer”), a family of beers to which the hefeweizen (literally “yeast wheat”) belongs. As a result, the style remained.
A trademark quality of a good hefeweizen is its cloudy appearance. It’s not filtered like most other beers, which leaves the yeast suspended in the beer. This particular strand of yeast also gives the hefeweizen a pleasant aroma of banana, clove, and spices. With a crisp finish and low hop bitterness, it’s the perfect style for this time of year.
Here are few suggested labels:
For the Beginner: Harpoon UFO Hefeweizen (Harpoon Brewery)
Harpoon’s “Unfiltered Offering” (hence UFO) is a basic representation of the hefeweizen style with a nice wheat flavor. There is little in the way of the yeasty banana and clove aroma, so a wedge of lemon or orange would work nicely in this beer. Harpoon also makes a Raspberry UFO that’s delicious on a hot summer day.
For the Beer Snob: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (Brauerei Weihenstephan)
Established in 1040, Weihenstephaner claims the title of the world’s oldest brewery. Their hefeweizen is an example of how almost a millennium of experience can create a superior product. Everything from its brilliant orange color and thick white head to its exemplary flavor and clean finish is spot on. For a Local Favorite: Thirsty Dog Whippet Wheat (Thirsty Dog Brewing Co.)
Produced locally in their Akron brewery, Thirsty Dog’s Whippet Wheat is a solid representation of the hefeweizen style. You’ll notice an ideal wheat profile with subtle hints of clove and spice.
Cheers (with beers)!