One of my non-blood sisters, Kendra ADORES Hefeweizens. She lived in Germany, speaks German, and since the day I have met her, will pick a Hefe over any other beer. And that's about as cool as it gets. To appreciate a style that much is awesome. But I just can't seem to climb aboard that love train. Witbiers, yes and yes. Hefeweizens? Ehhhh.
But, I shall not relent in my beer quest! So, to that end, I am going to do a little beer DJ'ing. A liquid mixtape, if you will. One Hefe with two delicious Whites, and see where it takes me...Will I be converted into a Hefe lover? Read on to find out....
BEER & BREWERY #54
Harpoon UFO White, 4.7% ABV: I tweeted on this beer, "if there was ever a beer that paired with an Acai bowl, Harpoon UFO is it." I stand by that claim, because oddly enough, it was that antioxidant wonderfood that I was enjoying when I plucked this delightful number from my fridge. The bright citrus and orangey (peel & juice) aspects of the beer complemented the darker blueberry and strawberry elements in the Acai bowl.
So (and I chuckle as I say this), if you are ever trying to detox, but still have a beer, this is your pairing.
While I like its lovely vibrancy, balance, and drinkability (I can picture sunning myself and grilling out all day to this beer), I am slightly exasperated by its label with the orange. I feel like it is a bit of a cop-out for the beer itself, and more of a marketing ploy to seduce Blue Moon drinkers. And hey, if it gets people to move from a MillerCoors product to craft beer, then let me shut my mouth right now. But it concerns me because this beer doesn't need fruit. AT ALL! It is perfectly pleasant as is, and doesn't require fruit to enhance it (as Blue Moon and other macro Hefes and Belgian Whites so desperately need.)
So I suppose this is a plea to Harpoon. Guys, I am a craft beer drinker who thoroughly enjoys your beers, and hope that you will allow your beer to stand on its own, sans fruit. You can do it. I believe in you. And UFO's.
Harpoon Brewery has been making delicious and accessible craft beers for over 20 years! Began in 1986, owners Dan Kenary and Rich Doyle were inspired by the beers and breweries of Europe in their college travels. Opening up in Boston, and now also in Vermont, Harpoon has become one of the most loved breweries in the nation. Expanding their lineup to include a barrel and Leviathian series, they appeal to every type of beer drinker. I don't think there is a beer style they haven't made! So if you haven't had a Harpoon beer yet, you are long overdue.
And you know how much I love love. Their slogan, "Love Beer. Love Life." is just about perfect.
BEER & BREWERY #53
Alaskan White, 5.4% ABV: Nice! A very drinkable wheat. On tap, as fresh as the glacial water from whence it came. Light citrus, peppercorn, mild spice, wheat and orange peel on the nose. On the palate, that orange comes through with a juiciness and finishes with a light wheaty finish. And like the UFO, this beer ABSOLUTELY does not need any fruit. And there is no indication of that on their label or marketing. In fact, it is a polar bear that graces their bottles.
This beer is definitely more toward the Witbier style of wheat beers, with its gentle spice and orange peel character. With my fondness of Witbiers, I thought I might like this one! A great alternative to macro Belgian Whites on tap, this is a perfect step over to craft beer for those hooked on the Blue Moon/Shock Top orange-in-a-beer phenomenon. If you know anyone suffering from this ailment, give them either a Harpoon UFO or Alaskan White. One step at a time, right?
Like Harpoon, Alaskan Brewing opened its doors in 1986 as "the 67th brewery in the country and the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition." (from their website) Owners Marcy and Geoff Larson have maintained their craft beer vision ever since and have become award favorites at the Great American Beer Festival. In fact, it was their Smoked Porter that took Gold this year. While they have expanded to a 10 state distribution, it still remains a West Coast craft beer favorite.
BEER & BREWERY #52
Bootleggers Old World Hefeweizen, 5% ABV: Now this beer is a horse of a different color. In true Hefeweizen style, this beer is unfiltered and much more aromatic and full-flavored that the previous two. This is for your Hefe-lovers. More orange peel, more coriander and spices, more tropical notes of mango peel and banana and definitely MORE wheat. What I like about this beer is the wonderful freshness it possesses on the nose. It smells and tastes like it is right out of the tank.
The palate is a flavorful combination of its aromas. But, and there is a but here, it is on the finish that the tell-tale Hefeweizen character does me in. That lingering wheat finish I just haven't learned to like yet. Like just eating a piece of wheat bread with no water, I want to smack my gums like an old toothless man. Gummy. You know what I'm talking about.
But, I give you my word, beer friends and Hefeweizen lovers! I shall forge onward, and continue to try Hefeweizens! And perhaps someday, you shall hear me sing the praises of this German favorite.
Bootleggers Brewery, located in Fullerton, California, is a local Orange County favorite, and was opened in April of 2008. After years of homebrewing and developing a business plan at Cal State, owner Aaron Barkenhagen saw his dream become a reality. Beginning as a 7 barrel brewhouse, Bootleggers continues to grow and expand. I have been told by friends and fans, with my new obsession with Rye IPA's, I must try their Rustic Rye. I plan on it.
Until next time,
Stay happy, eat well, and drink your wheaties. It's good for you!