Archive for the ‘hefeweizen’ Tag

Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Red Brick Dog Days Ale

Style: Hefeweizen

Brewery: Red Brick Brewing Company

ABV: 4.7%

Serving size: 12-ounce bottle poured into a pint glass and tested again in a Duvel glass

Served at 50 degrees

The debate about what makes the South distinctive, different from the rest of the country has raged for over two hundred years. And it shows no signs of abating any time soon. But there is one characteristic, however, that all the pundits and philosophers can agree on: It’s hot down here. Brutal, beat down hot. Sure, the mercury rises in other places but are you really ready for three months of temperatures about ninety degrees? Or six months of temperature above eighty-five degrees? And don’t forget the humidity. Remember, it’s this long and grinding combination that – in the works of native son, Tennessee Williams – drives people insane or provokes them to violence.

Leave it to a southern brewery – local Atlanta favorite, Red Brick Brewing – to come up with the right beer for weathering the notorious southern sizzle: Dog Days Ale. Dog Days is the Red Brick seasonal formerly known as “Red Brick Summer Ale.” As we have written before, Hefeweizen (or hefe-weizen if you prefer) is an unfiltered wheat beer, an ale, made with wheat malt, barley malt, hops and yeast (“hefe” means “with yeast”). It is a wheat beer because brewers use at least 50% wheat malt (and sometimes even more) to make it.

Appearance: Honey colored and cloudy. This varied depending on whether or not the sediment from the bottle was added to the glass. With hefeweizens, it is common to pour most but not all of the beer into the glass, then use the remaining beer to swirl around the inside of the bottle to collect the remaining yeast and then add that to the glass. When we intentionally did not disturb the sediment, it was of course more clear but still fairly cloudy. When swirled, the beer appeared very dense and more whitish-yellow. A quarter inch of cream colored head disappears quickly, leaving a fine layer across the surface. No lacing.

Aroma: Lots of esters (which means, it smells like bananas) and cloves. A very slight metallic smell.

Taste: Banana, clove, orange zest, bubble gum, maybe a little pear. There’s a bit of bitterness but that seems to be adjustable by the addition of the sediment. It was a little less bitter with a less aggressive swirl to clear the bottle of sediment.

Mouthfeel: It has a bit of body to it. The medium carbonation clears the palate quickly. Dog Days Ale is very dry compared to other wheat beers/hefeweizens/witbiers we’ve had.

Drinkability: We can definitely drink more than one because it is drier than other hefeweizens. It finishes very cleanly. The alcohol content is low compared to the beers we generally drink (most averaging around 7-8%), so that helps as well. A lower alcohol level is very good for a summertime beer where you could find yourself drinking more than one to help beat the heat.

Conclusion: We noticed some interesting differences with Dog Days Ale. The differences in flavors from the addition (or not) of the sediment was, of course, the main difference. Another difference was the effect of food on this beer. We found that certain foods toned down the bitterness as a happy coincidence while cooking dinner –  a pasta jamabalaya. After eating a piece of celery cut for our recipe, we took a sip of the beer and the celery mellowed the bitterness to a complimentary level.  Just as a personal preferences, we’re not fond of bitter or metallic flavors in beer, so we may be more sensitive to them. Also, if you prefer a bit of bitterness then you will appreciate its appearance in Dog Days.  It’s very drinkable on its own, but the right food really brings it to life.

Food Pairings: Goes well with spicy or strong flavored foods:

Olives, goat cheeses and wheat crackers
Buffalo chicken wings with celery and bleu cheese
Jambalaya/shrimp creole/Cajun dishes.

Here is the recipe for the “pasta jambalaya” I made if you want to try it too:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pasta-Jambalaya-104329

The jambalaya made the flavors of the beer sing and the beer complimented the recipe as well, bringing out the layers of flavors and nuances of the seasonings.

Schneider Weisse Hefe-Weizen

Schneider Wiesse

Schneider Weisse Hefe-Weizen

Brewery: Private Weissbier-Brauerei Georg Schneider & Sohn

ABV: 5.4%

Serving type: 500 milliliter bottle poured into a pint glass

Hefeweizen (or hefe-weizen if you prefer) is an unfiltered wheat beer, a Bavarian ale, made with wheat malt, barley malt, hops and yeast (“hefe” means “with yeast”). It is a wheat beer because brewers use at least 50% wheat malt (and sometimes even more) to make it. Private Weissbier-Brauerei Georg Schneider & Sohn, the brewery of the beer we are tasting today, has been making wheat beer since 1872.

Right off the bat, we noticed the phrase “Original bottle fermentation” on the label. Why are those words interesting? Because hefeweizen is an unfiltered beer, the carbonation is a result of the natural action of the yeast with the ale while in the bottle. Filtered beers are carbonated by injecting high-pressure gas into the beer in vats because it is quick and cheap. Here is what the Schneider Weisse website says about their bottle fermentation: “When it is bottled, the young wheat beer contains only very little carbon dioxide. Once the bottle is sealed, the pressure in the bottle rises as a result of bottle fermentation and the carbon dioxide thus produced dissolves in the beer and is only released once the bottle is opened and the beer is poured out. This produces the head and the typical sparkling and effervescence in the glass. Flavor maturation, which is absolutely essential, also takes place during bottle fermentation.” Why did we spend so many words talking about carbonation? Because, as you will read shortly, carbonation is one of the joys of Schneider Weisse Hefe-Weizen.

Appearance: It poured a cloudy, cedar brown – the color of unfiltered apple cider. It is an unusual color for a hefeweizen; it was darker and looked like an amber ale. It had a large beige head when poured and a small bit of foam remained during drinking.

Smell: After it was poured, the aromas of bananas, wheat and yeast were rising from the glass even though it was a foot away. Closer inspection revealed fragrances of apple bread, cloves and even baked raisin cookies.

Taste: Fruit and cloves mixed with apple cider and banana bread. The apple and banana bread nuances mellow the sour cider flavors.

Mouthfeel: It is sweet but not as cloying as you would expect. It is actually very light. It is also well carbonated, alive with fizziness that doesn’t fade. It was our impression that the healthy carbonation helped make the ale so light on the palate.

Drinkability: Yes, more please! It is one of our favorites because it is light but complex and delicious. This complexity makes it one to enjoy year round, and shouldn’t be classified as one of those “drink during summer months only” wheat beers. We’ve enjoyed this on cold winter nights as well as springtime afternoons.

Food pairings: Any mellow or nutty cheese like Swiss or Dubliner, a Reuben sandwich with lots of crispy tater tots, or pasta carbonara.