Hefeweizen! A Traditional Summer Refresher
While beer touring on a warm spring day in Orange County, recently, I was thirsty. The beer trail led me to Tustin Brewing Company in search of a cold, brewery-fresh, summer refresher. Luckily, the brewery had a Hefeweizen. And though the glassware was not correct for the beer style, what was in it was quite refreshing.
Lagers are refreshing, but a Hefeweizen (yeast-wheat, in German) is much better at cutting a thirst. The use of malted wheat in a Hefeweizen gives it a tart edge that makes it quenching. No wonder the style has been a summer refresher for 500 years.
Hefeweizen is a south German type of beer. Unfiltered and hazy, it has a pleasant aroma of cloves, bananas, and bubblegum, with hints of lemon and vanilla. Flavor follows aroma, especially when it comes to bananas and cloves. There is also some breadiness to the flavor, and bitterness is low. I particularly like its creamy mouthfeel and crisp, flavorful finish.
“Bavaria’s best advice is– try the weiss.” Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter
Hefeweizen is popular with beer lovers who like the idea of it being unprocessed, and that its yeast has health benefits. The wheat and yeast left over from fermentation is what gives Hefeweizen its cloudy appearance. But what about the lemon garnish?
According to Michael Jackson, The Beer Hunter, for some reason Americans started garnishing a glass of Hefeweizen with a slice of lemon in the 1960s. Perhaps it was because they wanted to mask the taste of poor products, enhance the lemony aroma, or to reduce the signature pillowy, white head. Regardless, this practice was, and still is, frowned upon in Germany.
Jackson said it was in the 1970s that a new generation of American beer purists realized the lemon slice negatively affected the classic characteristics of a Hefeweizen. To truly enjoy this beer style, drink it without a lemon, and in the proper glassware (weizen glass).
So, where can you find a Hefeweizen in San Diego? This beer style is on tap at many bars and restaurants, but if you want to drink one fresh, which is important for a Hefeweizen, you will need to go to a brewery or brewpub.
Right now, Karl Strauss, Rip Current, Lightning, and Pizza Port Solana Beach are the breweries that have Hefeweizen available for summer sipping, but check around for others. Cheers!Share This: