#168: Honey Weiss – Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a new style, no? Part of this is because of the fact that I’ve looked at so many already, but I think I’ll start devoting some effort into wrangling some of the strays in upcoming posts. I’ll start that process today by reviewing Whosisbrew’s first Kristallweizen, made by my old pals, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

Kristallweizen is quite simply a filtered version of the Hefeweizen style. Normally the Hefeweizen is cloudy, with an evident presence of yeast-driven phenolic flavors. Having undergone filtration, yeast is removed from suspension, and a lot of the haze-forming proteins are removed with it. The result is a clear, sparkling beer, with a softer flavor and more-tempered phenolic presence.

The beer poured with a large, but quickly evaporating foamy white head. Do keep in mind that the short life of the head probably had much more to do with the state of this glass. You can see bubbles sticking to the base, suggesting it was not as clean as it should have been. My bad. The color was a clear, sparkling straw gold, with a vast network of carbonation freely floating throughout the beer in a hurried manner. Initially, there was a considerable kick from the honey, but this was quickly usurped by sweet grain, wheat, and some tempered banana scents.

Well, let’s start with the positives. I do like how this beer tastes. The palate is met with a noticeable flavor of honey, followed quickly by sweet malts, crisp wheat and a gentle touch of banana. The “honey” part of the beer really distinguishes this brew, it’s a clever and very appropriate addition to the range of flavor. However, as I suggested in the first sentence, this beer is not without its flaws. The mouthfeel is quite light, which would have been fine if not for the high levels of carbonation. Each swallow feels as if your mouth is exhausting all of its resources to ensure that this thing actually goes down your throat. It’s too large a nuisance to ignore, as this beer becomes way too challenging as drinking progresses.

This beer is far from a disaster, but there are simply better, more approachable versions of this style. There are positives to be found in this beer and they indeed can be appreciated, but too much effort is required to accomplish that, and the payoff for doing so isn’t too great.

Score: 6.5/10.0

This was a Sixpoint Apollo Summer Wheat.  Untappd referred to this style as a kristallweizen.  I had to go to BeerAdvocate to see that a kristallweizen is a filtered hefeweizen (the more you know…).  It came in at 5.2% ABV.  When I had my first can, I got flavors of bubblegum and honey.  It was light and tart.  There was hints of grass as I kept drinking.  The second can I had while drinking with a friend who was also drinking Apollo.  He referenced flavors of pineapple and I got more of a candied banana flavor the second time.

No matter what specific flavors were coming through, this beer was really good!

Schöfferhofer Kristallweizen

Brewed by: Binding-Brauerei (Oetker Group), Germany
Style: Wheat
Volume: 500ml
ABV: 5%

Information: In the central German state of Hessen, where Frankfurt-am-Main is located, Schöfferhofer is the undisputed Weizen beer market leader. Its name comes from the German word for wheat, which together with barley, are the raw materials for the malt from which the Weizen wort is brewed.

First pour: has a bubbly, reasonably tenacious head that leaves a fine lacing around the glass. When poured this is a crystal clear golden colour. Looks like it is going to be very refreshing.

On the nose: at first smell you just get a light smell of wheat. Then it transforms into that consisting of vanilla and lemons. Quite a pleasant aroma. I don’t know if its just me but I get a hint of banana too.

On the tongue: a Fruity, full flavoured beverage but surprisingly light and very smooth on the palate. With malt and light hops in the mouth, a subdued bitterness creeps through. There is a slight nuttiness about the flavour too. The aftertaste is quite short, with a slightly bitter, slightly citrusy taste.

Recommendation: Great drink! Very session-able. Almost too easy to drink, just a good all round wheat beer. All in all this makes a refreshing, drinkable summer beverage.

Locations: I have only found this particular Schofferhofer at the Belair Fine Wine Cellar up in the hills, but the Duke of York Hotel has the Schofferhofer Hefeweizen which is just as amazing. Worth a try!

Rating: 8/10

Stay tuned for my next review on the Samuel Adams Lager…

Happy drinking!

Sixpoint Apollo


Appearance: Apollo has an amber/golden hued with the cloudy body that is very typical of a wheat beer, sitting on top is a foamy white head that doesn’t have the best retention. There’s nothing outstanding about the appearances, but perhaps I should invest into a weizen glass to properly suit the beer style!

Aroma: I finally understand what people mean when they claim a beer smells like bubblegum! Apollo has a tarty citrus with bananas and some other tropical hints on the nose in combination to a very distinct bubblegum aroma, a first in a beer for me! The aroma is a bit complex and hard to take in at first, but I gave it some time and fell in love.

Taste: Apollo has a light crisp body that has come to be expected with wheat beers, it’s part of what makes them so refreshing. The tarty citrus from the nose makes up the intro to this beer that yields to a strong banana flavor with mild cloves and a bubblegum finish that dries out the beer and lingers on my tongue for a bit. Again as with the aroma the complexity of this was hard to fully grasp but a few sips later and I’m in love!

Overall: Buy this now. Sixpoint has nailed the style on the head so well that it’s rated as high as Weihenstaphen’s kristallweizen, which is a huge compliment for Sixpoint. This is a refreshing and easy to drink beer that I eagerly look forward to buying again and again.

Sixpoint Apollo

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Sixpoint Brewery

Brooklyn, NY

Apollo Kristallweizen

5.2% ABV

While there was a cold snap in South Carolina for a week or so, it’s since given way to unseasonably warm temperatures more on par with what we see during the summer. While the humidity isn’t nearly as nauseating as it gets during the summer - it’s about 90 degrees outside as I type this, but only 40 percent humidity - it’s still not ideal weather for sipping imperial stouts or heavier beers. And as it goes with the seasons, the hotter it gets, the more inclined I am to reach for something a little lighter on the palate and the stomach.

With that being said, I don’t think I could possibly create a more perfect warm-weather beer than Sixpoint's Apollo.

While the Brooklyn-based brewery leans heavily on the hops with most of their beers, they decided to give the yeast a little more attention with Apollo, their new 5.2% Kristallweizen. Made with Bavarian yeast and wheat and designed to closely resemble a traditional German wheat beer, Apollo was designed to be enjoyed on the porch, at the pool, after mowing the lawn … hell, it’s perfect for just standing outside.

The color is that classic hazy orange you’d expect from a German wheat beer. It looks, fittingly, like a sunset. There’s a finger or so of a fluffy head on top that doesn’t really stick around. A little bit of lacing and, surprisingly, some alcohol legs as well.

The smell is classic hefe: Huge hints of banana, cloves and bubblegum. It’s just a huge juicy smelling estery bomb of a beer. There are slight wisps of pineapple and a sweetness from the malt. I got a slight peach, mango and melon notes as well. But yeah, it’s just an incredibly rich-smelling beer.

 On first sip, a wave of carbonation and that sweet bready malt flavor washes over your mouth. It settles into this excellent sweet banana and bubblegum flavor on the back. It’s that classic perfect German wheat flavor. A really rich and full mouthfeel, but not thick. And of course, it’s extremely drinkable. Definitely one not to miss if you can get your hands on it. 

2

Weißbier (or Weizenbier), one of my favorite beers, is made in Bavaria adding malted wheat to the malted barley. Wikipedia explains that three different sorts exist:

  • Kristallweiss or Kristallweizen is filtered to remove the yeast (clear appearence)
  • Hefeweiss or Hefeweizen is not filtered (cloudy appearance)
  • Dunkels Hefeweiss or Dunkelweizen is produced with dark malts.
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