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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oldie but a Goodie - Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier

Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier is recognized as the oldest standing brewery in the world. Originally a monastery founded in A.D. 1040, Weihenstephaner continues to brew magnificent beers to this day. When one loves beer like I do, one tends to visit bars and pubs frequently. And of course, spreading the good word about the best brands and styles sometimes crosses the lines of acceptable public discourse. So when telling someone about the best hefe-weissbeer in the western world, be ready for resistance. "I don't like wheat beers." This isn't just some wheat beer, it's hefe-weissbier. It's Weihenstephaner.

There are some good ones out there: Paulaner is pretty good. Franzikaner is really good. But Weihenstephaner is the goodest of the good. I've had it in bottles and on tap. Slightly different, but signature flavors nail it down. I prefer the draft, but don't hesitate to pick this one up in the bottle (and by the way, YouTube has some fun videos about pouring a hefe-weissbier properly and improperly).

A standard offering at Cork restaurant in Haddon Twp., NJ, Weihenstephaner is a go-to brew for citizens of the FermentNation. The Cabinet frequently meets here for the food as well as the beer. Weihenstephaner is served in a branded glass, a tall weissbier-style vessel which opens up at the top to include a lovely aroma into the drinking experience.

The fragrance is alluring... wheaty and fruity. The flavors are complex: Wheat holds the fruits together but doesn't cloud the orange-ish and B-nanna-ee notes. Cloves hold their own in this brew but don't overpower anything. Many wheat beers are murky and dull; The wheat and yeast sit on your tongue and don't leave room for anything else, but this weissbier kills the stereotype and transcends the style. The carbonation is playful without biting. So you see, Weihenstephaner has a lovely way of moderating all the stylistic elements of a good weissbier. I guess that comes with practice... 968 years of practice.

Weihenstephaner Hefe-Weissbier:

Representation: 1.0
Accessability: 1.0
Style: .8
Personal Preference: .9

Total Score: 3.7 Flags

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