You can drink and enjoy any and all styles of beer in the summer, but one beer that stands above the rest: the hefeweizen.
Known as a weissbier in Germany, the turbid beer (thanks to the unfiltered nature of the style) is a German style offering a wide range of flavors in stunning fashion for a beer that doesn’t rely on hops for producing its flavor profile. In fact, most brewers make sure to underutilize hops so as not to affect its unique flavors.
That’s because the yeast used in the beer, as well as fermentation temperatures and other brewing processes focused on yeast, can produce banana, clove, vanilla or even bubblegum flavors. If the beer is “estery,” that means it leans heavily on the fruit-like characteristics, whereas the clove-like spice comes from phenols. More often than not, you’ll find each hefeweizen you drink to be somewhat different from the previously quaffed one.
Now that you know what you’re getting into with this summer seasonal, here are some recommendations — some local and some available just across state lines. With the wide variety of hefes available, chances are there’s one that you’ll find to enjoy this summer.
Head brewer Austin Jevne’s take on one of his favorite beer styles delivers both subtle banana and clove flavors for a well-balanced yeasty treat.
Banana bread undertones with a bit of clove headline this hefeweizen, on tap right now.
Yet to be brewed, the LTS hefe is shooting for a balance between esters and phenols (without any bubblegum flavor).
Hefeweizen, August Schell Brewing Co.
Schells, the second oldest family-owned brewery in the nation, boldly claims on its website, “ We are German craft beer,” and it’s not kidding. Its simply named, award-winning hefeweizen is widely considered one of the best crafted in the nation.
Dancing Man, New Glarus Brewing Co.
Available only in Wisconsin, this supercharged hefeweizen (it weighs in at just over 7 percent ABV, meaning if you have too much you’ll resemble the jubilant man on the label) lets huge banana and clove flavors take over the palate. New Glarus uses an open fermentation technique that bolsters the fruit-like flavors, and is one of a select few breweries to do so in the country.
Bubbler, New Glarus Brewing Co.
This new summer release from the Wisconsin brewer leads with a heavy dose of bubblegum flavor that gives way to some banana, but features no spicy clove.
Kellerweis, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Another one brewed out of state but available at some local beer stores. By using open fermentation, Kellerweis props up the fruity and spicy flavor characteristics with a bready undertone and true depth of flavor.