Sunday, August 15, 2010
I recently came across Beer Advocate's Top 100 Beers On Planet Earth list (technically I believe this list is limited to brews that are available in most parts of the US). Scanning through the top ten, I noticed a beer that I had seen at the store many times but never tried. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (Hefeweizen) was #8 on the list, the only beer in the top 10 or so that is available in NY State that I had never tried. I am not a very big fan of hefeweizen, so I don't exactly seek out particularly impressive versions. Since it is summer though and I am an equal opportunity beer trier, I decided to pick up a bottle.
A brief history of the brewery, just because it is pretty special: Weihenstephan was a Benedictine monastery in Bavaria, Germany, and there is evidence of a brewery existing at that location as early as the year 768! They have a legit claim to the world's oldest brewery, a claim that is contended by a few others. Weihenstephan is confident enough that they put the claim right on their bottles. They make two versions of the weissbier, a filtered version (Kristallweizen) as well as this unfiltered version (Hefeweizen).
I do not have any weizen glasses, which is the preferred way to enjoy hefeweizen, so I went with a curved pint glass to encourage the substantial head to develop. About half the glass is filled with foam upon first pouring. In fact, as soon as I cracked the cap it started forming a head. It pours with a nice cloudy-yellow gold color that is typical for hefes. The beer has a substantial aroma of sweet fruit, yeast, maybe a little citrus?
Perhaps the best part of this beer is the perfect mouthfeel and finish. This beer could be dangerous over the course of a long session. Very light and crisp, you can almost feel the microscopic bubbles rolling over your tongue. There is a delicous sweet (in a good way) aftertaste which is very strong banana with a subtle hopiness to it and maybe some baked apple. I feel like you could gulp half a pint of this beer and not feel any ill effects. It is incredibly smooth.
Not being a big fan of hefeweizens, I don't have much to compare this to. I'd say this is a great beer for a hot summer day. This is the kind of beer you could drink for a whole night, although it would be quite expensive at 3.50 for one 16oz bottle. I will definetely seek this beer out on tap, hopefully they serve it at J Ryan's or the Blue Tusk. Since I think this would be the perfect beer for when someone else cuts your lawn because you are too rich, I give it 8/10 little kid cutting your lawns.