Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Summit Hefe Weizen
Want a warm-weather seasonal from a local pioneer in the craft beer world? Then Summit Hefe Weizen may be your beer. This has been their summer recipe for quite a while. However, I just came across some interesting info: Summit now lists this as a year-round brew on their website. If that's true, you can now enjoy this particular beverage during all seasons. (I'll have to do some emailing to find out for sure.)
Summit Hefe Weizen is an American version of the old Bavarian style. It has a lot in common with the European originals, but remains unique at the same time. It is brewed with a 66% portion of wheat malt and has residual yeast that is not filtered out. It weighs in at 14 IBUs and 4.9% ABV.
There is a traditional method for pouring a hefeweizen from a bottle. The residual yeast in the beer typically settles to the bottom of the container. With many other unfiltered beers, people try to decant the liquid carefully so the yeast is not disturbed. This is not the case with a hefeweizen, as you want the yeast mixed into the beer. In fact, the German "hefeweizen" translates to "yeast wheat," and indicates the importance of the unfiltered yeast in the style. When serving, you should first pour about half the bottle into your glass. Then, swirl the remaining beer in the bottle to agitate the yeast and mix it into the liquid. Finally, pour your yeast-filled remnants into the glass.
I pour the 12 ounce bottle into my weizen glass using the traditional method. A 2 finger white head easily builds and gradually fades back to a thin sticky layer of foam. The body is cloudy (as it should be) and golden-orange in color.
The aroma is similar to, but much more subtle than a Bavarian hefeweizen. There are slight fruit qualities, with banana being the most obvious. I also get some faint cloves and a bit of spice.
The taste starts with a honey-like sweet grainy malt and proceeds into an expected banana character with a touch of earthy spice. A nice bitterness cleanses the palate and doesn't linger at all.
The mouthfeel is medium-light and there is a mild, but crisp, carbonation level. It is very easy to drink because it goes down my gullet so smoothly. Some nice lacing sticks to the sides of my glass as the liquid level falls.
This beer is a tasty compromise between an American-style wheat and a Bavarian hefeweizen. It is lighter in banana/clove characteristics compared the the European variety, but is still quite flavorful and has similar qualities. You should try this crisp, refreshing, easy-drinking option from our local brewing legends at Summit. Buy a couple to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.