Friday, August 05, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. CIX)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the discerning folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to wine, whiskey, and beer.

As I’ve mentioned before, wheat beers are my favorite style for quaffing during the glorious days of summer. When the mercury is rising and the sun is sweltering, nothing beats a well-made wheat beer. Unfortunately, the quality of wheat beers varies considerably and there isn’t nearly enough quantity in the marketplace. Some poor examples, like Leinie’s Honey Weiss, shouldn’t even be allowed to use wheat in their name. For me, the gold standard in wheat beer continues to be Paulaner’s hefeweizen. Flying Dog, Two Brothers, Franziskaner, Left Hand, Tallgrass, Goose Island, and Widmer also produce high quality wheat products. Just last week, I had the pleasure of enjoying an Imperial Weizen from New Glarus. It’s a wheat beer that’s more heavily hopped than most and checks in at a weighty 9.6% ABV. Yet for all that heat it was still quite tasty and refreshing. Alas, this beer from neighboring Wisconsin it is not available in our fair state. Come to think of it, I can't name a single really good wheat beer that is brewed in Minnesota.

Fortunately, our featured beer this week is available on local store shelves (obviously). It’s an offering from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., one of the most well-known craft brewers in the country. Our beer of the week is their Kellerweis:

Kellerweis is one of the only American Hefeweizens made using the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation. This difficult and labor-intensive technique adds uncommon depth and flavor complexity. Our hazy-golden hefeweizen is deeply flavorful, refreshing and perfect for a sunny day. To serve, pour two-thirds into a glass, swirl and pour the rest.

It’s always important to pour beer properly, but especially so with hefeweizens so as to make sure you get all that delicious yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

Standard SN stubby 12oz brown bottle. Label also follows the SN design, this one with a gold background.

STYLE: Hefeweizen

Alcohol by Volume: 4.8%

COLOR (0-2): Gold and well-clouded. 2

AROMA (0-2): Wheat with more subtle smells of banana and clove. 2

HEAD (0-2): Bright white color that laces the glass well. 2

TASTE (0-5): Wheat, malt, and yeast up front along with spices, banana, and more citrusy fruit flavors and lighter hops at the finish. Light-to-medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel that glides down the throat. Extremely drinkable and refreshing. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Pleasant, but a little light. 1

OVERALL (0-6): This is a very well-balanced and delicious hefeweizen. It’s a great beer for a warm day as it’s easy to drink and flavorful. With the relatively low ABV, it’s also a good choice to have if you’re having more than one. And right now it’s on sale at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits for $6.49 (correction) a six-pack. Kellerweis is another Sierra Nevada offering that’s both easy on the taste buds and the wallet. That’s always a winning combo. 5

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16