I think this might be my first hefeweizen review, and there’s a reason behind it. More often than not, I tend to feel like wheat beers can be thin and fairly one-dimensional. I think about beers — as nice as they are in their own right (because trust me, I know they have their own set of rabid fans) — like Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat or Bell’s Oberon. The wheat just doesn’t do as much for me in the complexity department like most other grains, specialty malts in particular. Thus, I don’t generally drink them.

After recently enjoying Aventinus, a weizenbock, and now this hefe from Weihenstephaner, I’m beginning to slowly change my mind on the broad category*.

An almost luminescent golden, hay colored cloudy pour. Massive billowing head, with a banana boat-load of fruity esters and a light gingerbread clove effect. A pleasing warmth in the nose.

Taste was more on the clove side versus banana, a bit spicy with a brief bite in the finish, all backed with of course a healthy dose of wheat. Medium-full mouthfeel, which as I noted is better than what I’ve come to expect with most hefes. Pretty light on the alcohol front, only 5.4% ABV. The beer paired extraordinarily well with my homemade shrimp chowder, the banana and clove becoming much more pronounced and pleasing after each spoonful of cumin- and cayenne-infused chowder.  

This is just a simple, straightforward and glorious beer. I guess if the billing on their label as “World’s Oldest Brewery” is true, they’ve got a bit of a head start on the rest of us when it comes to mastering your craft.

Rating: A+

* I’m trying to branch out in the homebrew department with wheats, as well, having just brewed a lambic-style ale. However, on second thought, lambics have just about nothing in common with your average hefe aside from the initial grain bill, so scratch that.