Savoring a Millennium of Brewing Tradition
A Review of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier by Weihenstephan
Posted on 12/17/2012 by Chops
                   
Exquisite
Experience matters. It's why the best sushi is found in Japan. It's why the best vodka is found in Russia. It's why the best wine is found in France. And of course, it's why the best beer is found in Germany. The Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan was established in 1040 and is recognized as the oldest brewery in the world. To put that in perspective, this brewery was making beer 452 years before Columbus sailed across the Atlantic. They were brewing beer 736 years before the United States declared independence. And just to hammer the point home, America's oldest brewery (Yuengling) wasn't established until 1829. Take a few moments to let that amazing longevity sink in. So here I sit with a freshly poured Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. It's humbling knowing that almost a millennium of brewing tradition went into crafting this beer.

In the glass, this beer has a bright and hazy banana yellow coloration with a slight orange tint. It comes with a frothy white head that slowly transforms into a rocky head with amazing retention. Seriously, I could make a grocery run and balance my checkbook in the time it would take for this head to dissipate. On the nose, I detected a warm banana bread aroma with plenty of lemon rind. Rounding out the mix is a dusting of spices and herbs that provide a nice zesty punch. It's an intoxicating aroma that is really difficult to get away from. I couldn't help my close my eyes and imagine myself in a Bavarian beer garden. After a few minutes of aromatic daydreaming, I finally went in for that first sip.

Heaven. Pure beer bliss. That signature banana bread flavor immediately sets up as a solid foundation. Resting on top is a tangy lemony citrus and a complex array of tropical fruity sweetness. The hop profile is quite mild, allowing the spicy and herbal notes to swirl around freely. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth with a solid mid-level body. To say this beer is easy drinking would be a gross understatement. Weihenstephan has somehow managed to pack a rich and savory complexity into the accessibility of a vanilla milkshake. It's pretty damn remarkable to be perfectly honest. I could enjoy pint after pint after pint and never lose my beer geek giddiness. The beer finishes clean and exits with a zesty citrus aftertaste.

Overall, the Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier is an extraordinary brew. Not only is it one of the best wheat beers I have ever tasted, but it is also one of the best overall brews I have ever experienced. Needless to say, I can recommend this brew to any and all beer fans. Check that, this is a brew I flat out demand that every beer fan experience. Seasoned drinkers will bow to the greatness that is Weihenstephan and erect shrines of empty pint bottles. Beginners will be blown away by this beer's concentrated awesomeness, relegating all Blue Moons to the gallows (sink drain). This is one of those rare beers that is a game changer on all levels. Beer geeks will feel the crisp cool breeze atop the better beer summit. Novices will be violently thrust into the better beer community. Be not afraid, just pour yourself a glass and let the magic happen.

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Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier by Weihenstephan
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