Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen WeisseNovember 24th, 2009 beckel
Today I have a beer I should have enjoyed some time ago but never got around to purchasing, until last month or so when I noticed there was still one bottle left on the shelves of The Four Firkins. It is the Schneider brewed version of a set of collaborative ales by Hans-Peter Drexler of the fore mentioned Schneider Weisse (or G. Schneider & Sohn as they call their brewery) and Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewingg. Apparently Hans was a big fan of Brooklyn’s hoppy East India Pale Ale and Garret admired the delicate balance of flavors in Schneider Weisse so they decided to have some fun and brew two very similar hoppy Weizenbocks with different varieties of local hops and release each through their distribution networks. I have not had the opportunity to sample the Brooklyn versionÂ but I am quite excited to try this version which was brewed with an equal amount of Pale Wheat Malt and Pale Two-row Barley malt, hopped with Hallertauer Saphir for aroma and Hallertauer Tradition for bitterness then further dry hopped with3 more pounds Hallertauer Saphir per barrel for a week. Thirsty yet? I know I am. This ale pours a lovely hazy apricot hue and is only slightly translucent. Head was smaller than I expected of a wheat beer creating under two fingers of tight white head, though I didn’t pour particularly vigorously. On the other hand the head retention is superb leaving me with about a millimeter of tight bubbles for more then the last 15 minutes. Aroma is quite delicious, full of gentle banana, clove, and other herbal aromas I expect from the style as well as a very refreshing citrus and floral note from the Hallertauer hops in addition to a small amount of alcohol. Hop flavors come through delightfully contrasting balancing wonderfully with the wheat in the ale creating many citrus like flavors ranging from grapefruit to apricot and perhaps other light pitted fruits. The delicious and delicate wheat flavors we expect from a brew like Schneider Weisse are showcased wonderfully even with the assertive hopping allowing delicious gentle bread notes to flourish and grow. A variety of spices are present and play a nice balancing role to the solid hop profile. When I first read that this ale was only 40 IBU I was a bit surprised, but after sampling it is very apparent that though this is a wonderfully hopped ale with delicious citrus and floral notes, it is only gently bitter. I find the mouthfeel of this ale to be a bit more on the syrupy or sweet side but i think it is largely to do with the fact that this big beer has such a light body. Even at 8.2% ABV this is one drinkable ale, but be careful as the alcohol is only modestly notable. Definitely a solid ale that I will happily drink more of if I can find it. A wonderful example of what can happen when people work together; the solid complexities of a brewery that has been making traditional German beers for over a century and the wonderful hop assertiveness of many progressive American breweries. If you dig wheat beers and don’t mind some quality hoppy presence or even better yet if your scared of wheat beers and want to try something you won’t regret this is the beer for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.