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March 21, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer will be Beer White-belt Weissbier

A person does not become a 7th Dan black belt Beer-Geek, like Dave the Beer Guy, overnight. The journey of many pints begins with a single sip. So let’s make that first sip a wheat beer. Wheat beers are an excellent gateway to craft beer as a number of well-brewed domestic and imported wheat beers are widely available to the punter.

It’s even entirely appropriate that the first craft beer a white-belted newbie may contemplate is a German Weissbier (literally a white beer). Also referred to as a hefeweizen (yeasty wheat beer), the style originated in the southern German state of Bavaria in the 16th century. The Degenberger clan rose to prominence as the eminent brewers of Weissbier in the state but the family ended up running afoul of the Bavarian Duke over surcharges. The feud came to a conclusion when the Degenberger bloodline died out. Consequently, the keys to the Weissbier brewing empire were handed over to their arch-nemesis Duke Maximillian. Maxi was a shrewd bugger and swiftly mandated that publicans throughout his duchy were required to sell his Weissbier along with the popular brown lager beer of the time. Under Maxi, Weissbier sales went from strength to strength and the profits even helped him finance Bavaria’s part in the 30 Years’ War.

Over the intervening centuries Weissbier consumption dramatically declined in Bavaria. In 1951 the production of Bavarian Weissbier made up less than 2% of total beer production. This was turned around when the Schneider family decided to modernise their brewery and reinvigorate the local beer market. The turnaround was dramatic and in 1991 Weissbier grew to approximately 21% of Bavarian beer production.

Yeast is the distinctive flavour characteristic of Weissbier producing bouquets of banana, bubblegum and spicy clove. The yeast, along with protein from the wheat, helps create a turbid and tangy brew.

If you are searching for an authentic German Weissbier then you should seek out Erdinger Weissbier on tap, usually available from DB aligned establishments, such as your local Monteith’s bar. Alternatively, if you prefer to drink local drops then try the excellent Tuatara Hefe and Emerson’s WeissBier.


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  1. sybil says:

    Nice teaser. As a craft brewer and reinactor im curious as to your sources of timeline and recipe. Im always interested in documented historical refrences. Give me more!!!


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