Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Know Your Beer - Hefeweizen & Wheat Beer

Know Your Beer will be a new feature on From the Beer Fridge. There are a ton of different types of beer and not everyone is exquisitely knowledgable about what they are, what to expect, etc... So, every week, we'll feature a different type of beer and make this a bit of an educational moment.

We'll start of with the Hefeweizen, a beer most often recognized for its cloudy unfiltered appearance. The name comes from German - "hefe" translating to yeast and "weizen" translating to wheat. So, these beers have a high concentrate of wheat in them (if you're allergic - be aware!). Hefeweizens use at least a 50:50 mix of wheat and malt, with some breweries going as high as 70% wheat.

The flavor tends to be on the sweet and fruity side, with a bit of clove, banana and vanilla. Lots of aroma, so get a nice whiff of the beer before you start slugging it down. These beers are very refreshing, especially when it's hot, so you're likely to see them a whole bunch during the summer months. Most Hefeweizen/wheat beers tend to be on the mid to high 5% range in terms of alcohol content.

Americans have popularized tossing in a lemon or orange wedge into the beer to add some more citrus flavor into it. Some folks like this, others don't, as the citrus changes the flavor of the beer. So, if the brewer wanted the beer to have citrus in it, they would have added into the mix from the get go. Don't even think about asking for this treatment in any true German establishment, as you'll probably get das boot in your face. As my Beer Buddy Larry has informed me, the lemon messed up the "schaum" (head) of the beer. In fact, the beer should take about 7 minutes from pour to your table, in order for the head to settle properly. You can expect to see these beers served in a tall weizen glass to best release the flavors and scents and let you experience them.

We've taken a look at some of these type of beers before on From The Beer Fridge, including: the Four Peaks Brewing Hefeweizen, Carver's Raspberry Wheat Beer, Breckenridge Brewing Agave Wheat, Santa Fe Brewing Hefeweizen, and the Prescott Brewing Alpine Wheat.

Other suggestions that haven't been reviewed yet, but are quality beers include: the Flying Dog In Heat Wheat, Paulaner Hefeweizen, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen, Pyramid Haywire Hefeweizen and Gordon Bierish Hefeweizen (which goes really well in OJ).

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