There is nothing like your favorite brewsky after a long day of work or an afternoon spent on the porch during the hottest day of the summer. Most of us drink roughly the same 2 or 3 beers that we enjoy, depending the occasion or time or place. It’s often too much of a nuisance to some to venture further than that when exploring different types of beers. But if you’re a beer lover like me than your adventurous on occasion and try to reach out and taste that oddly named German beer you can’t pronounce that you heard one of your friends speak about at some party or wherever.
I love so many types of beers but there are also so many that just don’t sit right with me at any time ever. Wheat beer is one of those that I only seem to enjoy during the warmer weather, it’s also one of the beers I have learned more about both in flavor and history at basically a glacial pace really. Everyone is familiar with the very popular Blue Moon, with its citrus and coriander notes that sort of relax the tongue and spirit too when you drink it. It’s so incredibly easy to drink but I wanted to pay homage to others out there with their own respective amazing-ness and flavors and pairings. Some I’ve tasted, others I’ve read about or been recommended to try, and some sit in that little bar somewhere I have yet to come across waiting for me to try at last.
There are so many different categories and sub-categories of the wheat beer however they all seem to share one thing, they have more protein than barley, are usually light in flavor and are highly effervescent which makes for a great summer beer.
Notable flavors in wheat beer: Coriander, Bubble gum, citrus, applewood, cloves, pepper, vanilla and stronger versions include toffee, caramel and toast. Fun Fun Fun!
According to the German Beer Institute “wiessbier” means “white beer” and in North America we refer to it often as (“hefeweizen”) meaning (“yeast wheat”) because it is unfiltered. Filtered, clear weissbier is called Kristallweizen (“crystal wheat”). There are also dark wheat beers. These are called Dunkelweizen (“dark wheat”). German law dictates for a beer to be called Weisbier or Weizenbier it must be made with 50% malted wheat.
Some to try:
Allagash- “White” ABV5 %- Has a cloudy golden color with a medium sized white head and has strong notes of coriander, Curacao and orange peel. This one is kind of fruity but seems to have a dry finish to it with hints of a grainy wheat like flavor. Brewed in Portland, Maine. It’s 150 calories.
Samuel Adams- “Dunkel Weizen” 5.10 % Won best dark wheat beer at the World Beer Awards 2013 (Americas category) – This is one of their fall seasonal beers that is brewed with Bavarian yeast that bring a unique array of flavors like clove, nutmeg and bananas. Pours with a thin white head and sort of sweet.
Lagunitas- “A little sumpin sumpin ale” 7.50 %-This one has strong aromas of florals, grapefruit and lemon. Known to be complex in flavor and very aromatic.
ShockTop- This brewery makes a number of wheat beer variations which is wonderful, they have a different flavor for every taste bud. Pumpkin Wheat, Lemon Shandy Wheat, Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat, Chocolate Wheat and more.
Some notable food pairings I have tried with different wheat beers vary but some of my favorites that go so well with the usual citrus and coriander flavor you find in wheat beers is anything from a spicy artichoke dip to a Sharp goat cheese on the side. I really enjoy gently cooked fish, usually Tilapia or other light white fish with lemon and butter topped with tarragon or chives. But in the end experiment with whatever sounds good for you. So the next time you’re at your local watering hole or maybe visiting an interesting Bier Garden you’ve never frequented don’t be afraid to ask for opinions and pair your wheat beer with a snack or meal that sounds great. You might Just surprise yourself. Happy drinking. 🙂
And in the event you want to get super crazy, buy a six pack of wheat you’ve never tried and take it home and throw some battered fish in the pan and sip away to happiness. My boyfriend has a great recipe. Its super easy and he makes it for me all the time, we throw some lemon on top and crack open a nice cold beer and I sit back and revel in life’s simplest joys: A red bearded man and an outstanding beer to match.