Even though many European-style beers brewed in the United States are considered the best in the world (all of the English-style beers that won gold medals at the 2014 World Beer Cup were brewed in the U.S.), American wheat ales tend to be weak, watered-down versions of those brewed in central Europe. And frankly, some of them suck.
Thankfully, there are some that are excellent. One of them is a Hannah, http://exilebrewing.com/our-beer/ brewed with German wheat, barley and yeast.
Serve Hannah in a small weizen glass, though a pint glass will also work. Do not pour the beer too quickly or vigorously because hefeweizens are highly carbonated and tend to produce a lot of thick foam. After pouring two-thirds of the beer into the glass, swirl the bottle so the remaining beer inside stirs the yeasty goodness settled at the bottom, then pour the rest of the beer.
Hannah is a cloudy amber color, and a careful pour will produce two fingers of eggshell-colored head that dissipates evenly. The aroma is much like an authentic Bavarian hefeweizen with scents of banana, apple, wheat malt, yeast, clove, a little bit of strawberry and bubblegum. There is also a hint of citrus. The beer has a nice, full-bodied mouthfeel, and the flavor mostly mirrors the aroma: Banana and clove are most prominent, but apple, wheat malt, yeast, a touch of strawberry, caramel and a hint of citrus are also present.
Serving temperature: 45ºF
Alcohol content: 5.2 percent ABV
Food pairings: Exile owner R.J. Tursi says he recently enjoyed a pairing at the Iowa Chop House where Hanna was served alongside a salad and integrated into the salad’s lemon garlic vinaigrette dressing. “Any time you can integrate what you are drinking into what you are eat, you are going to get a better pairing,” he said. He adds that Hannah is often paired with salmon at Exile’s restaurant.
Where to buy: Hannah can be found at most local beer retailers and is also on tap at a handful of local bars.
Price: $9 per six-pack.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 178.