The Hops: Hefeweizen

August kind of sucks. Summer vacation ends (for those who still have it), there is no reason to drive to Missouri for fireworks and the beginning of football season is painfully close. Basically, it is 31 days of heat, humidity and perseverance. Thankfully, there is hefeweizen.

Brewed with over 50 percent malted wheat, refreshing on hot days and properly served in special, curvaceous glasses, hefeweizen is my favorite style of beer. Though a quest for hop tolerance is the national rage, I prefer to while away warm afternoons in the shade of a beer garden, a half-liter weizen glass filled with golden nectar and topped with a meringue-like foam within arms reach. So instead of suggesting one specific version, I have decided to recommend the hefeweizen style as a whole.

The good stuff comes from Bavaria. Excellent choices include Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Franziskaner Weissbier, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen and Schneider Weisse Original. In regards to freshness, Millstream’s Hefe“r”weizen cannot be beat.

More or less, all good hefeweizens exhibit the same characteristics. The color will range between lemonade and deep gold. Since they are unfiltered, hefeweizens are naturally cloudy. When pouring into a pint or weizen glass, leave a little beer in the bottle and gently loosen the yeast at the bottom with a couple swirls, then pour the remaining mix, which will cloud the beer and give it a thick foam topping. The aroma and flavor are sweet and wheaty and will usually feature ripe banana, apple, lemon, orange, clove, a little ground pepper, maybe strawberry and, sometimes, bubblegum.

  • Brewer: Samuel Smith Old Brewery of Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England.
  • Serving temperature: 45ºF
  • Alcohol content: Ranging from 4.9 to 5.5 percent ABV
  • Food pairings: Tangy cheeses such as Edam, Feta and Brick (I suggest Brick); chicken or vegetable pie; salads; seafood; and traditional Bavarian fare such as weisswurst and pretzels (hold the spicy mustard, though)
  • Where to buy: John’s Grocery, New Pioneer Food Co-op and most area Hy-Vee stores
  • Price: $8-10 per six-pack, and $3-4 for 500 ml bottles

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