Weekly Beer Focus - Wit/Weizen/Wheat: week of 5/23 - 5/29

Here’s an anchor thread within which to post our musings and reviews of Wit beer this week.

“Tonight we drink in Hell(es)!”

Ah, beer jokes.

I’ll start jumping-in later today. [drinkers.gif]

Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat Beer San Diego CA.
I had this once a about a month ago on a hot day sitting out with some friends. I enjoyed it and looked forward to trying it again. This time, paying a little more attention, this beer seemed fairly weak. I mainly got coriander off the nose. The palate was just plain dull. “C-”

Ommegang Witte - Belgian style White from NY: The lighter style of a wheat beer. But clearly a wheat beer…with a creamy mouthfeel, and just a hint of lemon peel and spice.

Allagash White - Belgian style White from ME: Also lighter in style but a little more spritz as opposed to creaminess. More spice and less citrus than the Ommegang. Nice…but I prefer the creamier version.

Hitachino White Ale from Japan.

Very floral aromas with a whiff of coriander and orange zest. The smell alone is making my mouth water!

Once this ale hits my tongue the citrus expands into a very luscious, creamy body and finishes with some snap. Very “wheat” in the mouth, but quite light in texture. I think I’m in love!

High Point Wheat Beer Co. Butler, NJ ‘Ramstein’ Classic Wheat Beer.

Fermented in the bottle, lots of gunk in the bottom. Golden maple in color, notes of cinnamon, spices, and sourdough bread on the nose. Lively zip on the front with smooth, mellow notes of caramel and malt on the palate. Finishes with a bit of that tinniness I get in wheat beers but really clean and smooth. A great summer beer!

Man, that one sounds good, I hope my local store has it.

  1. Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier. Cloudy golden-amber with big, thick, off-white head that laced the glass nicely. Aromas of banana, citrus, spice and faint breadiness. Taste is similar, with yeast coming through more, and clean, spicy finish. Very good German hefe. ‘A-’

  2. Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. Cloudy golden orange with huge, dense head. Aroma of banana, clove, and more yeast than the Franziskaner. Bready malt really comes through in the taste, supported by citrus and clove. Moderately full-bodied. Delicious. Easily the favorite of the night. ‘A’

  3. Paulaner Hefe. Pours hazy golden with a touch of orange. Medium-thick head that disappated quickly. Moderate hops on the nose, with faint banana, spice. Taste was similar, with hops moving back a bit, but generally bland and unremarkable. Slightly spicy finish. Although I hadn’t had one in a while, I expected more of this beer and was disappointed. It’s spot behind the Weihenstephaner probably affected my tasting, and could have been a bad bottle. Will try again. ‘C’

  4. König Ludwigh Weissbier. Cloudy yellow with lots of dark brown, flaky yeast sediment. Aroma is very bready with orange and hint of clove. Banana and citrus came forward in the taste. Fairly crisp finish with mild spice. Not bad but not something I would buy again. ‘B-’

  5. Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen. Hazy pale gold with medium, frothy head. In context of these 4 germans, this was “hello, west coast!” Aromas of hops and grass almost masking faint yeast and citrus. Taste was hops first, then showing slight banana and citrus and a mildly bitter finish with hops and clove. Good, but want to try this one again with other US hefes that are more similarly styled.

Decided this was a great time to segue into a Racer 5. After that I’m a little fuzzy on what transpired.

Nice! I have #2 and #3 in my fridge, so I will open them tonight. But I already know that I am going to totally agree on the Weihenstephaner - love that beer!

I took advantage of three nearly-identically-shaped bottles to conduct a mini blind tasting. Included in this tasting were: Schneider Weisse, Paulaner, and Erdinger. The Michelob Shock Top Belgian Witte and the The Bruery Orchard White were left out of this tasting because of their different bottle shapes, as well as because they are significantly different in style from the three Germans that comprised the blind set. The tasters were: Ashley, Z, and myself. I started-off by bagging each of the opened beers; I then asked Ashley to re-arrange the bags while I left the room; I then labeled each bag with a different shape: square, triangle, and circle. I cannot remember in which order I labeled the bags, but no effort was made to taste them in the same, or different, order than that in which they were labeled.

The order of our tasting was:

  1. Square
  2. Triangle
  3. Circle

Rankings from all three tasters are listed below. The TN’s only represent my impressions and opinions about the beers, not those of the other tasters. Scores are out of 10.
1. Square
NOSE: maraschino cherry; orange; wheat; ripe peach juice.
BODY: medium-full bodied; dark brownish-orange hazy color.
TASTE: broad palate; hint of orange curacao; spices – pumpkin, lots of clove; pretty drinkable; sweet, but not artificially sweet. I like this a lot.
Score: 8.5 to 9.0

2. Triangle
NOSE: spicy oak sugar; not as expressive as Square.
BODY: medium-full bodied; hazy orange color – a lighter orange than Square. foamy head is thicker than the head on Square.
TASTE: not complex – pretty one-note; hint of clove; good, but not as good as Square.
Score: 7.0 to 8.0.

3. Circle
NOSE: oak sugar spice; not expressive; cinnamon; baked apples; wheat; slight Italian dressing note.
BODY: bright orange color – similar in color to Triangle, but not as hazy as Triangle; a bit lighter orange than Triangle; moderately foamy head; medium bodied.
TASTE: tastes more like a lager than the others; not as “wheaty” as the others; my least favorite of the three.
Score: 6.5 to 7.5

My rankings, in order of preference:

Z’s Rankings:
Triangle (8.5)
Square (8.0)
Circle (7.5)

Ashley’s rankings:
Square (8.5)
Triangle (8.5)
Circle (7.5)

The reveal:
Square: Schneider Weisse Hefeweizen
Triangle: Paulaner Hefeweizen
Circle: Erdinger Hefeweizen

I was incredibly surprised by the results. I’ve always parroted Paulaner as the best hefe I’ve ever tasted; the Schneider Weisse has me revising my story: the Schneider Weisse was a clear step (or two) above the others, and, imo, justified it’s higher price tag ($4 for a pint). Interesting tasting, and now I have a new favorite hefe. [drinkers.gif]

WOW, nice work Brian! I love tasting blind, it is so humbling.

My favorite American wheat beer -

FORT COLLINS BREWERY - Major Tom’s Pomegranate Wheat Ale -

This has been my summer go-to beer for years - the Pomegranate is very subtle, you know it’s there, but not like those tooty-fruity fruit beers - it’s very clean and well made with a soft mid-palate that is just brimming with flavor -

Flying Dog Brewery “In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen”–from tap, this wasn’t bad up front but the back end got too fruity for my tastes with obvious white juicy fruits that dominated the hint of spice that led the palate & covered up many of the enjoyable elements.
Not bad, an easy drink, but I should have listened when the cute waitress attempted to steer me away from this one. If this were wine, I’d call it 84 points.

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Hoegaarden White: Hazy pale yellow with a creamy mouthfeel. Citrus aroma, with wheat and lemon. Very similar in style to the Ommegang I tried, just not quite as good, IMO.

I used to like this more than I do now…I think I have found more and more good Wit beer, so this is sliding. Still, a good beer, easy to drink, I’d never pass one up if offered. [cheers.gif]

The best thing about Hoegaarden is - It’s always fresh - the beer is distributed by bud and miller guys who check dates, rotate stock, and always make sure that what they sell is “fresh” - I think Hoegaarden has slid a bit over the years - it will never be what it was 20 years ago when Pierre Celis owned the brewery (it was god-like back then with little chunks of fruit floating in the bottom of the bottle) - but it’s still the perfect rendition of a light white ale - and so dangerously drinkable -

Charlevoix La Dominus Vobiscum Blanche - fairly clear yellow in the glass. I get an annoying amount of perfume on the nose, and pronounced coriander and spice - spiced eggnog. Is that nutmeg? Very drinkable with a decent mouthfeel and light carbonation. B

My experience in this catagory is limited, primarily because I’ve never had one that blew me away and furthered my interest in witbier. I think I recall a Hoegaarden making me sick 10 years ago too…

From last night:

Paulaner Hefe: Golden color that is a bit darker than anything else this week so far. Nice wheat/spice nose, a touch of citrus (orange?) and then some banana flavors - with some moderate spice. Defenitely some clove. A good beer that is a bit bolder than the one’s so far this week.

Weihenstephaner Hefe: Cludy golden color, a tough lighter than the Paulaner. Citrus/wheat nose. Creamy goodness, with lemon, orange, banana, and some nicely balanced spices. I think I get clove still, but I think the Paulaner had more. This one is SO darn good. More complex than the Wit beers.


Yazoo Hefeweizen; Yazoo Brewing, Nashville, TN (12 oz bottle)- Slightly less head than typical, moderate lacing, clean crisp aroma without the sometimes present banana/glue notes. Smooth, easy drinking and refreshing with a note of grains and citrus. A-

Kicking it off with:

Georg Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse (Organic)
Pours a cloudy, dark tangerine with a very nice, frothy head. Sweet smelling aromas of clover honey, cardamom and sweet basil. In the mouth it is refreshingly light, dare I say a little hoppy, with an ever so faint “buckwheat noodle” semblance taking a backseat to the citrus and sweet spice notes. Wish it’d had a little more body to it, but all in all a lovely ale. Now, where’s that DVD of The Sound of Music? [wink.gif]


  1. Allagash White.

Pour was lightly cloudy, pale straw yellow. About an inch of fairly loose, pure white head that dissipated in about 90 seconds without lacing. Nose of bread/grains and a touch of banana, citrus and clove. Mouthfeel was light to medium with moderate carbonation. Taste was fairly thin showing grains and citrus (mostly orange peel). Finish of mild spicy bitterness. Not one of my favorites, but very refreshing and gulpable. ‘B/B+’

  1. New Belgium Mothership Wit.

Pour was cloudy, light-golden yellow. Frothy head dissapated quickly leaving a bit of lacing. Nose was initially very sweet yeasty bread, green apple, bubblegum. After warming a bit, significant clove and a bit of coriander came through. Mouthfeel was light, with substantial carbonation - fizzy on the sides and back of the tongue. Taste was disappointingly less complex than the nose–almost watery, with notes of lemon zest and then clove as it warmed up a few degrees. ‘B-’