Monday, July 26, 2010

Beer Club Volume Ten - Hefeweizens

June's Beer Club was such a good time it took me over a month to recover from it and write about it. Our newest member Todd is a party animal and we all drank non stop for the last five weeks. OK, not really... I've just been busy guy (or a slacker if you wanna go that route).

Let's rewind five weeks. It was time to introduce hefeweizens to the members of Beer Club who hadn't had the pleasure of trying them. This was another self scheduled month for us because I knew that Schell's version of the style came out in June and it was one that I definitely wanted to showcase.

After a few discussions with some people who know their beers, I decided to once again go with a lineup that would give us a good opportunity to compare and contrast beers that were unique for various reasons.

Here's the lineup:
Hacker-Pschorr (Hefe) Weisse
Schneider Weisse Original
Georg Schneiders Wiesen Edel-Weisse
Brauerei Aying Bräu-Weisse
Summit Hefe Weizen
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Kellerweis Hefeweizen
August Schell Brewing Company Hefeweizen
Brauerei Aying Ayinger Ur-Weisse
Brauerei Aying Ayinger Weizen-Bock

We had a few beers from across the pond which gave us an idea of how much is/isn't lost from a beer style that should always be drank as fresh as possible. We had a couple examples from the complete opposite direction with Schell's and Summit being made practically down the road and Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss which is not only domestic, but included so we could see if their open vat fermentation added anything to the mix.

I also included the last two on the list to give people an idea of how the closely related dunkelweizen and weizenbock styles would compare to the hefe style.

I expected the domestic examples to pull away from their German counterparts but to my surprise they were very good and very well received by everybody. I guess years of experience can help make up for the lead time it takes to get to us.

It was another month when the opinions varied quite a bit but the ones that seemed to be the most popular were the Hacker-Pschorr and the Schell's. Trying them all in a lineup together confirmed for me that the Schell's was still my favorite. That was no surprise to me since they combined the best of both worlds. They're a brewery with 150 years of experience that's located less than two hours from us.

Brett executing the "roll" technique (see step 7 here)

I'm not sure if I converted anybody to being a hefeweizen fan, but at least I opened some people's eyes to a new style and gave them an idea of whether or not they'd want to explore deeper into a style that's terrific during the dog days of summer.