I’ve just returned from a trip to Germany and Belgium and as you can imagine, this gave me an opportunity to sample some previously unsampled malt-based beverages. Oh joy.
The Bavarian Brauerei Weihenstephaner is apparently the oldest brewery in the world, so I expect they’ve picked up a bit of expertise in the art of brewing over the years. They produce a range of beers, but as the category above states, this little gem of impartiality concerns their Kristall Weissbier. It’s brewed with a combination of wheat and barley malt, and is filtered. Obviously, it’s brewed in strict adherence to the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity law of 1516 that states only water, malt, hops and yeast can be used.
For more information about the brewery, its history and other products, click on the link below.
But first, a word from our sponsors…
“The source of its pearling, effervescent taste is the secret fermentation process which we have developed especially for our crystal wheat beer. It quenches your thirst like no other beer. With its elegant appearance, it is the speciality of our brewery. Goes well with fish, seafood and light dishes.”
This beer pours a bright and, unusually for the style, clear light golden colour which is topped by a big-n-bouncy, white head of foam. The head gradually sinks a bit, but never completely disappears and leaves a respectable amount of lacing on the glass.
The aroma is decidedly fruity with hints of bananas and pears, lemons and oranges, and a spicy, clove-like note in the background. There’s some wheaty malt, and a biscuit-like note too.
It’s light bodied with a quite bubbly mouth feel. The taste is even more fruity than the aroma, with more bananas and pears, and a little apple flavour rolling around. The clove-like flavour almost overrides this, but not quite. There are hints of bubble-gum, and a subtle yeastiness. The wheat malt gives it an almost nutty feel but there’s little or no noticeable input from any hops – just a faint bitterness and dryness towards the finish. It has a clean and refreshing aftertaste.
At 5.4% ABV, this is a clean and clear, crisp and sharp brew that’s extremely refreshing. It’s maybe a little clean and clear for some as it’s filtered and therefore doesn’t have the normal, cloudy appearance of most wheat beers. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, it may encourage people to try what is a fine beer, on the other, filtering it means that some of the flavour is lost.
That apart, it’s an interesting and complex beer that can’t fail to satisfy. Ideal for a warm afternoon, a lunch of bockwurst mit kartoffelsalat (the Teutonic equivalent of bangers-n-mash) would just about do the trick…I know it did for me.
A very nice beer, but not the best wheat beer I’ve ever had.
Would I drink it again? – I think so – it’s not the best wheat beer, but it’s certainly not the wurst.