25 May 2009

Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen

Queen Victoria's birthday on the 24th of May unofficially marks the start of the summer season here in Canada. The end of the harsh Canadian winter ushers in a new season of barbeques, skimpy clothing and drunken afternoons spent on the patio. In the warm sun, nothing goes down like a cold bottle of German hefeweizen and I was pleased to see that the LCBO has been making an effort to bring in more of examples of this excellent style of brewing. Being a huge fan of Erdinger Weissbier, I stopped into my local LCBO to pick up a few bottles for the evening barbeque when I spotted a new weissbier on the shelf. I grabbed a few for my Mix 8 and headed home with my purchase.

Hailing from the world's oldest brewery, Weihenstephaner is a Bavarian-style wheat beer with an abv of 5.4%. The Weihenstephaner website states that the brewery started between 725 and 768 in the Bavarian city of Freising by Benedictine monks. Later, it became the Royal Bavarian State Brewery until finally being privatized as a regulated enterprise of the Freestate of Bavaria. Today, Weihenstephaner brews 11 standard beers and 2 alcohol free varieties. Their hefe weissbeir is their only product I have personally seen in North America.

Like most examples of weissbier, Weihenstephaner pours a cloudy golden-orange with a thick foamy head. The beer gives off a distinct yet pleasant spicy odour with no alcohol scent. The brew starts with a slightly sweet, yeasty flavour reminscent of most wheat beers, moves to the back of the palate with the slight spiciness hinted at in the nose, and continues with a slightly bitter finish. The taste lingers but does not overpower, and the crisp finish makes one wanting more. A definate thirst quencher for those dog days of summer, I can easily see many a drunken afternoon in the coming months with a fridge full of these. Overall, and excellent example of this style of brewing. Enjoy!

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