Dee. Lee. She. Us. Neck. Tar.
A Review of Bräu-Weisse by Ayinger Brewery
Posted on 5/15/2011 by Chops
There is something magical about cresting the summit, especially when it is completely unintentional. I was out with a friend this weekend catching up over a few tasty brews. One of my favorite craft brew locations is Tyler's Taproom in the Durham, NC Tobacco District. They have an amazing array of craft brews from all over the world. I usually end up getting some form of doppelbock, but I decided that it was time to try something new. Tyler's is one of the few places that have one of my favorite breweries on tap: Ayinger Brewery out of Germany. They make my go-to doppelbock (Celebrator), so I thought it's only fitting to try something new of theirs. Bräu-Weisse it is, a German weizen beer. Never been a very big fan of wheats, but hey, it's an Ayinger brew.
First of all, this beer is gorgeous. Just look at that helpful pic I provided. You know how weizens tend to smell like bananas? Well this one actually looks like a banana. It has a beautiful deep yellow tone to it. Thick, cloudy, warm, almost sunny in appearance with a brilliant white head. I think I have taken more pics of this beer than I have of any other. I was amazed by how enticing it looked. And the aroma, oh the aroma. Classic banana smells, only sweetened and lavish instead of the usual funkiness (makes me wonder what's wrong with other wheats). There are also thick yeast and bread smells along with twinges of tart fruits. It actually smells a lot like warm banana bread.
And then there's that first sip. Something special happened with that first sip. I had realized at that very moment... that I had never had a wheat beer. Ever. This was my first exposure to what a quality wheat beer should be. Looking back, I guess I should have realized that when the bartender didn't offer me some sort of garnish, like an orange slice. No need. When wheats are done right, they stand on their own in a very, very big way.
Okay, let's see if I can explain this glorious taste. I think the best way I can describe this flavor is to first think of an average wheat beer. Any decent wheat or hefeweizen will do. Light, airy, lots of crisp citrus and tart tropical fruits, etc. Got it in your head? Good, now add the alcohol taste of an IPA without adding any bitterness. That takes care of the front end, which is moderately aggressive (yes, a wheat). Next, enhance all those summery core flavors until they barely overshadow the alcohol. In other words, give a lot of body to those yeasty bread tones, amplify and smooth out those tart fruit tastes, then package it all up within an earthy lemongrass base.
Does that make sense? In all honestly, it's really hard to describe this beer's flavor without tasting it yourself. And when you do, be sure to be thinking about your favorite wheat. It's, well, educational to say the least.
Overall, Ayinger's Bräu-Weisse was a complete game changer for me. It's absolutely amazing, breathtaking even. Let me put it this way... Ayinger Brewery already had my adoration hook, line and sinker with their delectable Celebrator doppelbock. But after having this beer, Ayinger instantly became one of my all-time favorite breweries, hands down, no contest.
And this, my beer loving friends, is what being a brew fanatic is all about. We live for these moments. We yearn for those new and exciting discoveries that open our minds and challenge our tastes. Speaking of which, I must apologize to fellow reviewer La-di-dada. I'm sure it was annoying for every third sentence of our conversation to be ''holy shit this beer is amazing!''