The dark side of wheat beer from the world’s oldest brewery | Premium Bavaricum
Maybe this rash of wheat beers has been too bright for you… too much of a lemon zest, or maybe just too much damn yeast. Well, in the hopes that fall will descend upon our sweaty brows sooner than later, yet knowing that those cool breezes are still weeks away, this week presents a stellar selection remaining true to the wheat beer category but with a huge dose of interesting character. Touted as the oldest existing brewery in the world, and claiming a birth year of 1040, Weihenstephaner is steeped in history and tradition. Located in the German town of Freising, it was originally the monastery brewery of the Benedictine monks before becoming the
Royal Bavarian State Brewery. Along with a double bock, a pilsner, an Oktoberfest marzen beer, a dark lager and a bright lager, Brauerei Weihenstephaner boasts an impressive lineup of wheat beers: a standard hefeweissbier, a light yeast beer, a kristallweissbier (basically a filtered version of a wheat beer with more subtle flavors and a clear presentation) and even an alcohol-free hefe. However, winner of the group is the hefeweissbier dunkel, or dark wheat beer. This southern German styled wheat beer is the perfect choice for a wheat-beer drinker who needs more color, flavor and kick, and at 5.3 percent ABV, it does the job. I purchased the 16.9 fl. oz. bottle, which gave me nearly two pints of this outstanding beer. Once in the glass, the hefe-dunkel showed a dark orange/red color, quite nice, with a huge top of creamy, off-white foam. The beer leaves virtually no lace on the glass, and once the head finally dissipates, a thin layer never leaves the liquid. Aromas of sweet wheat, clove, honey and a touch of pepper cross the nose. The taste of this beer is all malt, creamy and slightly sweet, with a hint of smoke and pepper in the aftertaste. Just the slightest tight hop essence can be discerned on the inner cheeks, but it’s not nearly as fruity as normal hefeweiss beers, with minimal tastes of apricot or grape, although these tastes are slightly more prominent as the beer warms.
The mouthfeel is near perfect, a slight fizz on the tongue but almost no carbonation in the back of the mouth, perfect for the creamy texture of the brew. This beer succeeds at staying somewhat easy drinking, almost light, and can be enjoyed in summer, but has more taste and body. This is an ideal choice beer-wise toward the cooler weather and the wonderful fall and Oktober selections to come. This beer might be a little hard to find, but it’s well worth the search, possibly the best dark wheat beer you will come across. Enjoy the brews.
E-mail the Jeffrey Gredlein at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beer: Hefeweissbier Dunkel
Brewery: Brauerei Weihenstephen
Origin: Freising, Germany
ABV: 5.3 percent
Pairing: Grilled meats, strong cheese, breads and hearty fare