Join Club

Your Beermonger: Finding the Right Hefeweizen

Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway).

My first experience with Hefeweizen was probably much like many people of my age: a happy hour special ordered because ‘look at that tall glass—that’s a deal,’ served with a wedge of lemon. In those days I thought that was a beautiful thing, and if I’m honest there are some days even now when I still do (don’t tell anyone, though. I’ve got a rep to maintain here). There were a great many things I didn’t know, however. Things I’d learn only with time and experience. To many here in the U.S. though, the classic German Wheat Ale is still that cloudy junk you throw citrus into. Let’s take a few moments today to explore true Hefeweizen, and see if we can’t find the right one for you. Because there is a right Wheat Beer for everyone.

Hefeweizen/Hefeweisse: Consider the two terms interchangeable. “Hefe” refers to the special yeast used in these Ales, which along with them being unfiltered is mostly responsible for the banana and spice notes often found in them as well as their cloudy appearance. In Bavaria the term Weisse (“white”) is used; in other regions of Germany Weizen (“wheat”) is more common. I’m going to use Hefeweizen as it’s the term I use more often. Classic Hefeweizen uses a combination of that special yeast strain and at least 50% wheat malt with a very limited amount of hops to create an easy-drinking Ale with notes of banana, clove, and lemon. The wheat malt contributes a bit of the fruit flavor, but more than that it brings a biscuit-y bread-like note that serves to balance the style. Weihenstephaner, Schneider, and Paulaner make some of the most commonly-found and classic Hefeweizen you’ll find. Among American breweries, you’ll find seasonals like Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, Victory Sunrise Weissbier, and Troeg’s Dreamweaver.

Kristalweizen: A style of Hefeweizen that has been filtered, which not only gives the beer a clear appearance, but brightens up and softens some of the fruit notes as well. Weihenstephaner’s Kristalweizen is my go-to, but the recent release of Brooklyn-based Sixpoint Brewery’s Apollo has been great as well.

Dunkelweizen: Dunkel means “dark,” so you can take a stab at this one. The higher malt content can produce beers ranging from slightly amber in color to very dark brown. The more intense the malts, the more muted the spice and fruit are in the beer. Franziskaner, Ayinger, Paulaner, Weihenstephaner, and even Sam Adams and Great Divide make fine examples of the style.

Weizenbock: Is there a stronger alternative to a major beer style? If there is, we here in the States are likely to jump all over it and Hefeweizen is no different. Weizenbock are stronger, more intense styles of Hefeweizen and while there aren’t that many still coming over from Germany (Vitus from Weihenstephaner is my favorite); it’s the Americans who have taken the style and run with it. Brooklyn Brewery makes a fine example in collaboration with Schneider; Victory’s Moonglow is a rare treat, and if you can catch it when released Weyerbacher’s Slam Dunkel is a cool Weizenbock that adds a touch of malt to give the style extra smoothness.

Berliner Weisse: If you’re the type to ask for extra lemon in your Hefe, give this a shot. Low in alcohol and bottle conditioned, Berliner Weisse gain a tart, sometimes full-on sour character from either a second fermentation or addition of lactobacillus. Fritz Briem 1809 is my favorite German available around here, and Dogfish Head has just released their seasonal Festina Peche, based on a Berliner Weisse but with fresh peach juice added to the tank during fermentation. Traditionally, Berliner Weisse beers are served with a shot of raspberry and woodruff syrup to cut the tartness of the style. With Sour Ales entering a Renaissance, many breweries are making them to be enjoyed on their own. California’s The Bruery makes Hottenroth; a bold, once-per-year Berliner-style, and while it’s classification as a Berliner-style is questionable in my book, BeerAdvocate.com has the fantastic Bell’s Oarsman Ale marked as a Berliner-style. Oarsman does seem influenced by Berliner Weisse, but I’m not so sure it can really be considered one: the use of Bell’s proprietary yeast strain gives it a slightly more round feeling than a true Berliner. That said, Oarsman is my go-to session beer — at 4% ABV with the right balance of tart, sour, and refreshing, there’s nary a moment you’ll catch me without some in my fridge. If you’re looking for something a little more tart than a straight Hefeweizen, try one of these out.

I hope this gives you a good jumping-off point to explore the joys of Wheat Ales. Just remember, if it feels wrong to throw a slice of lemon in the glass — it probably is. Until next time.

Cheers!

Nick Anderson maintains a blog at www.beermonger.net, and can be found on Twitter at @The_Beermonger. Sign up for Arrowine’s money saving email offers and free wine and beer tastings at www.arrowine.com/mailing-list-signup.aspxThe views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Recent Stories

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

A march against drugs drew a large crowd of parents and community members to Wakefield High School, where a student died this week.

Arlington County police responded to an unusual incident on Route 50 this afternoon. It happened around 1 p.m. at the intersection with Park Drive, near the Arlington Forest Shopping Center…

Building a new home should be a rewarding and memorable experience. That’s why a custom-built home requires personalized service! Here’s your chance to learn everything you need to know about…

The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.

The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.

Former participants have this to say:

_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.

Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.

About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.

The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by

×

Subscribe to our mailing list