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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Wonderful world of wheat beers

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    WAYNE COUNTY - First, I apologize for the hiatus. To make a long story short, I had some nerve surgery a few months ago and was taking some medication on a regular basis that probably wouldn’t react well with alcohol.
    I like beer and wish to continue drinking and writing about it, but I also need to function and not end up in the hospital…or worse.
    So that said, I’m glad to be back doing what I like.
    Nuff said.
    Summer is here and there’s no better way to beat the heat than with a chilly wheat beer.
    Now, wheat beers have been all the rage for a few years and, consequentially, are being produced and mass marketed by many domestic macrobreweries and microbreweries alike.
    A few are good and capture the essence of the style. Most, however, are half-hearted attempts to copy long established German brands that are widely available in the US.
    I ask, “Why drink the knock-offs when you can have the standard?”
    Weisse beers come in a few styles, Heffe, the unfiltered version, and traditionally the dominant type made by most breweries.
    Two of the best examples of German Heffeweisse are those brewed by Franziskaner and Hacker-Pshorr. I picked up the Hacker Pshorr at Dutch’s in Greentown and the Franziskaner at the Lake Region IGA in Hawley.
    Franziskaner is the cloudier of the two brews. It also has a bit more citrus notes and spicy flavor than the Hacker-Pschorr, which is darker in color and has a slightly maltier and sweeter flavor. The Hacker clocks in at 5.5% alcohol by volume whereas the Franziskaner is just a slightly less potent at 5.0% ABV.
    With the generally acceptable ABV level of a session beer being 5.0%, these beers do have the potential for having some impact on your faculties, but you’d have to be putting them down rather quickly.
    Page 2 of 2 - Admittedly they do go down rather easily- especially on a hot summer day-so have something to nosh on while partaking in the heffeweisse.
    Because heffes tend to have some hints of clove, nutmeg, banana, or citrus they match up well with any pork, chicken, or fish recipe that has one or more of those fruits or spice flavors.
    However, in most cases those notes are subtle and not as up front as the same flavors that one finds in a Belgian Tripel style ale. That makes heffeweisse go well with just about anything, especially stuff you might be prone to char on your grill, such as brats, smoked pork chops, sausages, or any cuisine with a Teutonic origin for that matter.
    Heffes should always be poured into a glass. A tall pilsner is best, but a pint will work if that’s all you have.
    Some people say just pour it all in, others say pour some and then swish the yeast from the bottle before pouring the remainder.
    Honestly, it doesn’t really change the taste. Some say garnish, others say “Don’t fruit the beer.”
    Truth be told, the beers can stand on their own and don’t need the help, but an extra hint of lemon or orange is fine too. I’ve been to some very upscale beer bars and they garnish, so who’s to argue with the snobs of all beer snobs?
    Summer weather will be here for quite some time, so when you next peruse the beer section looking for that perfect brew to beat the heat, give some consideration to the German heffeweisse. 

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