A few times last week, while reading through some beer forums online, I kept seeing a recurring theme; the same name kept coming up. The name was Weihenstephan or Weihenstephaner. Each comment about their beer was filled with praise. I made it my mission to locate some Weihenstephan regardless of style.
My last road trip was to Binny’s in Plainfield and I spotted a row of Weihenstephan beers of varying styles. I decide to buy one of a style I was unfamiliar with, a weizenbock. I knew it had wheat (weizen) malt but I forgot about what the “bock” meant. The beer I chose was Weihenstephan Vitus Weizenbock. I was positive that I had made a great choice. Research would prove that out later.
Weihenstephan is the oldest continuously run brewery in the world with documents traceable back to the 8th century. Today it is known as the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan. They make a few hefeweizens, pilsners, dunkels and have ventured into pale ales and IPAs.
Weihenstephan Vitus was honored as the Best Beer in the World at the World Beer Awards in England in 2011. I don’t know if the beer was named after St. Vitus himself or his dance.
The beer advertises on the label that it’s “Brewed under the Purity Law of 1516.” The Reinheitsgebot. That in itself may not be a good thing anymore when you think about it. Especially with all the pumpkin beers on the shelves these days. And then there’s Rogue Sriracha. Pfft!
I was really eager to dive into this beer. I have a special liking for wheat beers with Hacker Pschorr being my gateway beer into the craft beer scene. Let’s get started.
The beer poured with a hazy yellow-orange color. The carbonation was running rampant throughout the liquid. Tons of bubbles. A nice thick, white head topped it all off. The aroma was slight but I picked up some scents of citrus and maltiness.
The first sip was absolutely delicious. Some tastes of citrus arose in the back while a very small maltiness lingered up front. The medium mouthfeel spoke of the beers fullness. After the second sip, my stomach replied with a nice belch to be shared with all.
I couldn’t believe what I was drinking. The tastes were so smooth and tasty that it was difficult to pick up on distinct flavors. The citrus was of lemon or pineapple. Another slight bit of banana with a nice tartness thrown in at the swallow. The beer stayed nice and tolerably sweet all the way through.
While drinking this beer, I started feeling disappointed in myself for having been wooed away by the great new tastes of California IPAs and American takes on Scottish ales, pale ales, etc. and having my beer drinking attention span narrowed to the likes of them. I have now rediscovered that the German and Bavarian and Czech beers are well worth the attention. After all, that’s why the styles have been around for so long. But I am well pleased with myself for being a craft beer lover and not a wine snob.
Right down to the bottom of the glass, every sip was magnificent, tasting just as good as the first sip. This was no basic wheat-beer beer. It was a drink with moxie (is that word still used these days?)
After tasting this wonderful beer, I felt slighted that the bottles contained 11.2 ounces instead of the usual 12. That means that I must get more. I also think it would be a great time to brush up on some German: Weizen, weiss, doppel, dunkel, helles, etc.
I had a great time drinking this beer. It was more outstanding than I thought it would be. If you’re looking for a bit of a change, start with the oldest brewery in the world and continue from there.
Style: German Weizenbock
Taste: Sweet, citrusy, some malt and a great flavor.
Smoothness: Easy going down in spite of the bubbles.
Drinkability: The taste will drive you to get another one.
Bang for the buck: Good price for great taste.
Amount paid: $12.99 for six 11.2 ounce bottles.
Get it again? Absolutely!
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: It’s cloudy. It’s not dark. (sniff) That smell…. (sip) Wow. It’s pretty mild. (sip) A little sweet. (sip) It’s actually kinda pleasant. (sip) That’s pretty good. (She nailed another one.)
Weihenstephan – Die Brauerei [1:34] – (not Uncle Chef John)