Last week, I finished this series of Beer History Flash Cards with typemaster Sydnee Mejia. The plan is to use them as a promotional postcard for breweries to try to land a cool beer label design gig (which is a secret hipster dream of mine).
Nestled inside a leaf-covered building on the corner of Yonge and Dundonald is Toronto’s iconic Bar Volo beer bar, a must-visit location for any hophead…
With 26 rotating taps and 6 casks, Volo offers one of the finest selections of Canadian craft beers, and a few from foreign friends, that you will find anywhere in the city…
There is only one menu, the one you see above, that changes daily. You decide what you want, remember the corresponding letter to the left, and the bartenders pour your beer from the alphabetized taps…
I enjoyed three incredible beers from small Canadian breweries last night. First up was Konnichiwa Peaches, a peach hefeweizen from Oast House Brewers in Niagara…
Next up was the Gose from Les Trois Mousquetaires in Brossard, QC…
And I finished with a Corolis Effect berliner weisse from Sawdust City Brewing in Gravenhurst, Ontario, cropped to give you a little peak at Volo’s outside patio. on the left there…
Bar Volo also offers an extensive bottle list, an interesting collection of small batch whiskeys and domestic charcuterie and snacks.
A local institution that should no beer lover should miss!
Schneider-Weisse is one of Bavaria’s rare wheat only breweries. Every Schneider beer may look like a hefeweizen, but don’t expect everything to taste like one. For example, Edel-Weisse – recently renamed Festweisse – is an Oktoberfest Märzen brewed with a fifty-fifty blend of wheat and barley. I went in expecting the usual German wheat notes, but was surprised that the flavor was dominated by hops.
According to the Schneider-Weisse website, the Festweisse is brewed with local Cascade hops, an American staple grown in Germany. I wouldn’t be surprised if Edel-Weisse was too. It tastes real flowery. I say it tastes of roses; Sarah says elderflower; she’s probably right. The malt is spot on for a festbier, round and brown, maybe a little breadier than an all barley brew, but damn tasty.
Brotha From Anotha Motha is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen on rotational release. This marks my first experience with Widmur Brothers. I would first like to thank the Frank Creative design firm of Portland, Oregon for their thoughtful donation. Aromas blend the classic Pilsner grain quality together with hints of wheat and biscuit malts. Moderate sweetness is detected. Hops pull in a faint accent of lemon which melds to funky, fruity yeast that smells faintly of banana, clove, and vanilla.
The palate opens in smooth, sweet wheat while gentle grain flavors begin to unfold. Crisp carbonation pairs with a mild citrus element like lemon. Floral yeast blends a sort of wild flower character together with clove. Submissive hops emerge from behind in an herbal, leafy touch with suggestions of sage. Fruity highlights close in a blend of flavor similar to star fruit and orange. Muted bitterness settles, then closes with a clean mouthfeel.
Overall, I think this is a good domestic take on a traditional style. Drinkability is superb, because the sustain is incredibly short. On the downside, I think it ends up a bit too watered down. You all know this isn’t my go-to style, but it’s always refreshing to return to the foundations of beer. Widmur gave this a good shot. I’m satisfied.
The beer aisle is looking less and less diverse lately. Everything seems IPA adjacent at the moment, and I’m just not in the mood. And instead of gauging the merits of Americanized versions of European ales, I’m going to the original source.
And what’s more original than Weihenstephan? The brewery traces it’s roots to a monastery built in 1040 C.E. It’s since grown into one of Bavaria’s largest breweries and is home to the Technical University of Munich’s brewing program. It’s kind of a big deal.
But, as with all imported beer, there is always the problem of freshness. I got a bottle of Hefeweissbier Dunkel expecting lots of phenols, the scent of fresh banana bread, something delicious. What I got was sort of lifeless and bready.
Oh well, you win some you lose some, and sometimes you spend less on a bottle of beer shipped in from Bavaria than you do for a bottle filled next door.
It’s an awesome Saturday afternoon outside and as I crack open this beer and reheat leftover pizza, the biggest decision I have to make is whether to watch the NCAA basketball tournament or the National Lampoon’s Vacation marathon on AMC. This beer was sent to me by my friend Betty who lives up in the Northwest. When I won the brewmaster “Cuisinternship” with Full Sail Brewing, I brewed with John Harris, a well known brewer (who also developed many of Deschutes’ recipes). A couple years ago, John left Full Sail to start his own brewery in Portland – Ecliptic Brewing. Therefore, I asked my friend Betty if she could send me a beer or two from Ecliptic when she was able to find them.
The bottle says “The brilliant Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo. Spica HefePils is brewed in the unfiltered Kellerbier style. Exclusive use of Pale malt gives this lager a pleasing my body and light golden color. Sterling hops bring a rich herbal hop character and work with the unfiltered yeast to end on a nice spicy flavor.”
Location: Poured into a half liter Hefeweizen glass at my home in Bloomington, IL
Numbers: 5.5% ABV, 38 IBUs, 130 Calories
Appearance & Aroma: It’s golden-yellow in color and fairly hazy. There’s a decent amount of carbonation in it, leaving a huge, fluffy, bright white head with great retention and lacing. The aroma is somewhat grainy-bready with an earthy-herbal hop smell.
Taste & Feel: The body is light and the mouthfeel is mostly smooth with a bit of carbonation crispness. The flavor up front is… (More on Ecliptic Brewing – Spica Hefepils)
The Zurich airport, now in full Christmas attire, opened a beer bar not long time ago. Please understand this is no trivial thing, in a world where beer is mostly looked down. The many shelves offer only 8 brews (many from small local breweries) in such an orderly manner that it looked to me like a cold storage area. I guess this very small offering is also the reason the beer selection is rather unimpressive - they wanted to stick with average tastes, the safe side probably. The average Germans won’t complain for sure. I’m expecting to pass by in another couple of days but in such an early morning that I won’t benefit (yet again) from this offering. Yes, flying abroad soon again, compromising even more my German beer calender - which I will not carry along please understand. Today however I’m still around and enjoying another Hefeweizen, this time from the Eichbaum brewery. Nice fizzy cloudy beer here, fruity and not sweet at all (but not sour either), I enjoyed it. It also tastes somewhat familiar but I’m too tired to check the previous days for the possible candidate… 2:30am here and the clock will ring in 4 hours. Vacation is near though.
In the Beer Bible, Jeff Alworth draws a connection between Bavaria’s cloudy weissbier and the rustic traditions of Belgium. There is definite overlap in technique and flavor.
Georg Schneider opened his weizen brewery over one hundred fifty years ago. Today Georg Schneider VI owns the company and it is still making wheat beer, nothing but wheat beer, the traditional way: open fermenters, bottle conditioning, no filtering – except for the kristalweizen, but that’s new.
Schneider Weisse Original is a shade or two darker than the usual hefeweizen. It’s got a maltier body, toasty. But it also has the usual hallmarks of Bavarian yeast, banana and spice, even a hint of bubblegum. Too bad I got a dead bottle. No head, muted flavor.
Maybe you should go buy a copy of Jeff’s book? Use this link and I might be able to afford a fresher bottle next time.
香り(Aroma)：ヴァイツェン酵母由来のバナナなどを思わせるエステルアロマが圧倒的で，ホップ由来のフローラルやパイナップル香が微かに感じられます. This beer has overwhelming ester aromas like banana and slight fragrances of flower, pineapple from hop.
味(Palate)：ヴァイツェン酵母特有のバナナやリンゴを思わせるエステルフレーバーにホップ由来のハーバルでスパイシーなフレーバーにレモンっぽい酸味が感じられます.加えて，アルコールのフレーバーが少しあり，モルト由来の穀物っぽいフレーバー，小麦麦芽由来の柔らかい味わいもあります. 炭酸はそこまできつくなく，フィニッシュはややドライですっきりしています. 草っぽさは穏やか(綺麗な草っぽさ)で，苦味は強くなく適度，甘さも控えめです. This beer has ester flavors of banana, apple and herbal, spicy savors and sourness like lemon of hop. In addition, a little of alcoholic taste, a grain one from malt and a soft one from yeast are felt. The carbonation is not strong, a finish is somewhat dry and clean. Grassiness is mild, the bitterness is moderate and the sweetness is modest.
総合(Overall)：アメリカで製造されているヴァイツェンということもあってかなりアメリカ色の強いものになっているのかと勝手な想像をしていたのですが，きちんとドイツらしく造っており，個人的には好印象ではありました. ヴァイツェン自体がドリンカブルではあるのですが，これはドリンカブルだと思います. あっさりとした特徴を良しとするか否かですね. 私は若干物足りなさを感じなくもないかなと思います. 飲むとしたら夏，そんな印象です. RateBeer のスコアランキングで見るとトップ50に入っています(22位). なので，世界的に評価が高いのは事実で，それに値する味ではあると思います. それと同時に日本で造っている一部ブルワリーのヴァイツェンはすごく美味しいし，レベルが高いなぁと合わせて思いました. This beer is a Weizen brewed in USA, so I imagine an American-style beer, but it is close to a German-style beer. Generally, (hefe)weizen is one of drinkable beer styles, however, is more drinkable than expected (German Weizen). You may like it or may not like it. I think it makes me feel empty and appropriate for drinks in summer. It is recorded in the 50 ranking of hefeweizen on RateBeer, so it is fact that it has a high rating in the world and is worth of that. Additionally, I think Weizens brewed in several Japanese breweries are high-level and delicious.
Did I mention I was last week in Sweden? I know I did mention, but I think I omitted the fact I crashed a Systembolaget store and got all those Swedish beer cans for my collection. I actually had to buy a new suitcase to be able to bring them home as the post has funny opening times and I couldn’t find where to get a carton box to save my life. I didn’t mind it, though, sacrifices are expected. Of course, the Systembolaget - state monopoly alcohol stores - sell also foreign beers so I got also some non-Swedish goodies, but now it’s all about Sweden. Except that I just realized the above picture includes also three Danish Carlsbergs… oops, sorry for the mix-up. Uh and I have another two cans in my fridge for later consumption, another mix-up… sorry they are simply too many and I got confused. Eh. To come back to the beer advent calendar: the 11th day brought out a good fruity weizen, a bit sweet and a bit sour and a bit bitter, so I totally enjoyed it. It’s also rather light and if I only had another one…