Weisse, Weisse, baby
Weisse, or wheat beers used to be all the rage in America a century ago, as wheat became an abundant agricultural product, with some brews requiring three parts wheat to one part traditional brewing malt. Wheat was cheap, and produced a beer that was similar in style to the weisse beers produced in Berlin at the time. The style was refreshing and sweet, and an excellent cure for the hard labours of agriculture. In effect, the American brewers implemented brewing techniques mastered by the German brewers at the time, a product of mass immigration into a booming agricultural sector in developing America. To connect with that tradition, it’s best to choose Hacker-Pschorr as an example of a traditional Bavarian weisse. The brewery has been in the business since 1417, after all.
From the tap, a cloudy amber-coloured beer pours into a traditional glass stein revealing a white, thick head. It’s an excellent introduction to the weisse due to its 60/40 wheat to barley malt content, and the results are nothing short of sublime.
A mild bitterness is masked by an aroma of lemon, banana, and a slight orange character, masked for subtlety by the wheat content of the beer. The cloudiness of the beer is caused by wheat proteins and the strand of yeast that is used in the brewing process. While other brews strive for clarity, the cloudiness is very much part of the experience of this beer, imparting a mildly dry mouth-feel. The beer boasts magnificent texture and variety that is hard to experience in a bottled serving, as is the case with most beers (including next week’s Brew Review). So dig into your schnitzel, eat your vegetables, and drink your weisse. It’s not a brew to be missed.