Style: Wheat ale
Brand: Goose island (Baldwinsville, ny)
Name: 312 Urban wheat ale
ABV: 4.2%, IBU: 18
“crisp, bright flavor shines like city lights on lake michigan.”
This beer contained sediment which was evenly scattered throughout the bottle. Upon pouring, I initially thought this beer was a light beer. There was a medium amount of carbonation with a slight foam top.
The aroma was very weak. However, it was rather fruity with a hint of bananas. It smelled wonderful, but required effort on my part because it was not a strong aroma.
3. Taste / After taste
In short, this beer was rather tasteless. It reminded me more of a plain light beer more so than a wheat beer. The taste contained almost no sweetness with a delayed crisp spicy and bitter taste.
The spiciness derives from the cascade hops. After this spicy taste faded, the after taste was as absent as the sweetness. I found myself asking, what did I just drink?
The foam added some volume to the texture. This beer consisted of a creamy body with smooth flow.
If I had to sum up this experience in a few words, it would fall into the boring category as far as wheat beer is concerned. I could see myself drinking a six pack on a hot summer day as it is a beer that does not get old. It definitely reminded me of a Heineken – which is a great beer, but distantly off from a wheat beer.
After finishing a pint, this beer reminded me of eating an entire meal of bread – I was left full and fulfilled, but my entire meal was tasteless.
6. Conclusion: 1 Star
In the end, this is a good beer, but it just does not cut it as a wheat beer. Great for day drinking in the summer, but not great for the enjoyment of taste.
Brand: Pedernales (Fredericksburg, TX)
Name: Classic hefeweizen
The first thing that I noticed was the high amounts of carbonation. The coloring was very clear, like a light beer, and although it was slightly wheat colored, it did not make me feel like I was drinking a wheat beer. There was a small, but perfect amount of foam and no signs of sediment.
The smell of this beer was the best part about it. I loved the sweet aroma of oranges with a slight hint of banana. I was craving that first sip just from the fragrances.
3. Taste / After taste
The taste was rather complex at first. It intrigued my taste buds, but there was not much of a desirable after taste other than some bitterness. As I continued drinking, I noticed that the initial fruit taste began to slowly fade as I consumed the beer, which only left a strong taste of bitterness.
The bitterness and the sweetness did not merge together very well. The taste transitioned between the two harshly rather than in a smooth fashion.
The texture of this beer was almost absent. From texture alone, I could not distinguish this beer from a sub-par light beer. If the aroma wasn’t so strong and wonderful, I might have even thought that I was drinking a light beer.
The taste was complex enough to keep me interested, but nothing jumped out to make this beer special. About half way through the beer, my taste buds adapted to the fruity flavor, and left me with a beer that I was not excited about finishing. I could even taste a minor hint of the alcohol beyond the fruity flavor. Simply put, I am not craving another one of these beers.
6. Conclusion: 2 Stars
The aroma of this beer is absolutely delightful. Overall, the fruity flavor that was decent to begin with, slowly faded over time, which left an unappealing bitter taste. I just do not feel excited to drink another one of these beers which inexplicably leads me a two star rating.
Have you tried Pedernales Hefeweizen before? Would you agree or disagree with the two star rating? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below.
Brand: New Belgium (Fort collins, CO)
ABV: 5.0%, IBU: 13
“Snap! You just captured an unfiltered wheat beer full of refreshment and a smile-inducing flash of tart at the finish”
Immediately upon pouring the beer, I noticed that the beer was a medium-light color with a relatively high amount of carbonation. There was a slight light white foam at the top with small amounts of sediment that could barely be seen.
The color was a light orangish-yellow at the bottom of the glass and it transitioned to a nearly perfect full bodied orange color at the top. Overall, the beer was slightly light, but came very close to the way a wheat beer should look.
The smell consisted mainly of fresh lemons with a hint of fruit. Overall, the smell was rather mild, and nothing to get excited about as it was on the weaker side.
3. Taste / After taste
This well crafted wheat beer started out with a hint of sweetness, but then developed into a tart and tangy finish. The fuller bodied taste with malt from pale and wheat is definitely unique while the taste of the hybrid ale yeast immediately jumped onto my taste buds. It was less complex than other wheat beers, but the taste kept me interested.
The sour after taste was the one noticeable aspect that made this beer stick out. I loved the flash of tart which originated from the lactobacillus. The combination of the Cascade hops, tart after-taste, and the hint of fruitiness proved to be wonderful. The bitterness taste of the hops could be easily identified in addition to the citrus taste from the grains of paradise.
The texture was one that was lighter than a traditional heavier wheat beer, but noticeably something “more” than a light beer. Good, but not perfect.
The beer itself was not extremely flavorful, but it did a superb job of creating a very mellow taste that carried out to the rest of my body. It creates a sense of serenity as the tart after-taste goes down. I would set the drink down only to feel my taste buds salivating for another taste of tartness as if I was craving it.
6. Conclusion: 4 Stars
Originally, I was thinking this beer deserved a 3 because of the lack of sophisticated taste, but still definitely a solid wheat beer. However, this beer was bumped up +1 to a 4 because:
(a) the mellow taste/feeling of relaxation and peacefulness was one to be remembered
(b) the after taste was uniquely superb that left me craving more every time I set the beer down
A fantastic beer and great for those who either want a tangy after-taste or want to try a hybrid Belgium Hefeweizen that is not your standard wheat beer.
Add Lacto (souring bacteria) to a portion of the overall wort, which produces lactic acid that gives a characteristic sourness and mouthfeel. That acidic portion is then added to other portion of the wort that was fermented with the Ale yeast. So two worts – a sour and a regular – are blended together to make Snapshot.
The art of classifying a wheat beer is a highly debated task. However, after countless pints of consumption, I have developed a model to characterize the sophisticated flavor, aroma, and body of wheat beers, which can be much more complex than their barley-based peers.
First, I show the hierarchy of wheat beer classification below.
The Pyramid of Wheat Beer Classification
Each wheat beer can be classified by these distinctions with some of the categories being defined below.
- American – Brewed with a more neutral yeast that brings out the malt taste more compared with the taste of hops. Lacks the aromas of fruit and bread, but carries a bitterness resembling typical American ales.
- Belgium – Brewed with raw unmalted wheat and utilizes the flavoring of orange peel and coriander. Taste more fruity and tends to be slightly more sour than the other counter-parts.
- German – Brewed with weizen yeast, and usually unfiltered. The taste has little bitterness and tends to be more mellow-tasting. The aroma rouses scents from oranges, cinnamon, and bananas.
- Dunkel / Dark-weizen – Use darker malts with a fuller malt flavor.
- Flavored Wheat Ale – Contains more fruit and honey to develop a new hybrid style of beer.
- Hefeweizen – Highly carbonated that use a stronger percentage of wheat. Usually contain yeast sediment with a small role of hops.
- Kristall-weizen – Non-hazy ale with filtering to remove protein haze and yeast. Flavor is cleaner, more delicate, while less spicy and complex.
- Weizen-bock – Winter wheat beers with a pale gold to brown coloring that contain higher levels of alcohol. Contain rocky head when poured and are rich with malts and crispness.
- Wheat Ale – Brewed with a large proportion of wheat malt which adds a protein haze.
- White/wit Beer – Use unmalted wheat with other flavors such as oranges and curacao. Appearance is hazy white with sedimentation.
*Source: Wheat Beer Styles
- Bitterness (IBU)
Next, the experience of consuming these delicious beverages deserve a run down of how we rate wheat beers. Is there another classification section that you think is worthy of a mention? If so, please comment and leave your thoughts.
In this post, you will find the different metrics used to rate wheat beers. This will be used as a guideline to formulate thoughts while not being too distracted by the awesomeness of certain wheat beers. Do you feel that we should be looking at other categories or feel that we are missing something? Please leave a comment or reach out to us.
Listed below are some categories that will be acknowledged during the rating process of new wheat beers. There is no single standard that is determined to be the “best”, but comments will be broken up by these categories.
- Taste (Obviously)
- After taste
We also provide recommendations and suggestions for each beer. These can include garnishments, food pairings, glassware, temperature, pouring styles, and anything else the wheat beer community can think of. Note that we will be continually updating this page to incorporate more details, especially adhering to the master beer taster certification.
If you have a favorite wheat beer, please tell us about your experience. We love to hear from our community about what they like and dislike. Leave a comment below!