This wonderful strong wheat beer convinced even Boak, who is not usually a fan of the style.
We were expecting it to be a bit like the Brooklyn/Schneider collaboration but, in fact, this was more Belgian in flavour and aroma, with a powerful hit of candied orange-peel. Intriguing, that, as it is claims to comply with the purity law. A skillful use of hops, we think, and we wondered whether it might even be dry-hopped. Of course, it’s just possible that there’s some bending of the ‘law’ going on here.
Even at 6.2%, it’s not heavy going. In fact, we can imagine this being dangerously easy to down on a hot summer’s evening. It’s what more German wheat beers could be with a bit of imagination, without being ‘wacky’ or ‘extreme’.
Almost two years ago, in our 2009 wish list, we mentioned that we were interested in trying Estrella Inedit. On our recent holiday, we finally got round to it, picking up a bottle in a wine shop in San Sebastian.
The first thing to note is the amazing aroma — roses and lemons, like a box of Turkish delight. Unfortunately, the flavour doesn’t quite live up to that fanfare. It has a slightly dry, chalky maltiness with hints of sugar and orange. Not, in fact, a super-complex connoisseur’s beer as the packaging and pretentious label would have you believe, but something of a dumbed down Belgian-style wit.
We tried it with and without food to see if it lived up to its claim of being specially formulated to accompany food. The best we could say is that it is suitably unobtrusive, but it certainly didn’t (with apologies to Garrett Oliver) chat up our chorizo and chick pea stew and take it round to the back alley for a knee trembler.
It cost €4.50 for a 750ml bottle, which is fine, but any more than this (i.e. the £10+ prices people are charging in the UK) and you’d feel quite ripped off. All in all, if you divorce this from the pretentious marketing and packaging (“serve in white wine glasses no more than half full to appreciate the aroma”) it’s an excellent beer by Spanish standards, and we’d be delighted to find it in our local tapas restaurant in London.
Interestingly, Damm have also brought out a cheaper, less highfalutin, German-style weizen, Weiss Damm. It stands up well in comparison to Paulaner Weiss, which is probably the wheat beer most commonly available in Spain.
Both variants of the Brooklyn/Schneider Hopfen Weisse in their beautifully designed bottles
We hated Schneider Hopfenweisse when we tried it a couple of years ago and I almost turned my nose up when offered it on draft at the Devonshire cat, Sheffield. Nonetheless, I got my half (a mere £2.80…) and gave it another go.
It’s always a good idea to give a beer a second chance. Wowzers, Penny. I take it all back. It’s wonderful.
It’s like a turbo charged wheatbeer with crisp, almost tangible hops; bubblegum cut with grapefruit. Truly extreme and fabulous for it. Oddly, the German-American parentage gives this a very Belgian aroma (booze + spice) which really adds to the pleasure.
As with koelsch, if you drink one Belgian wheat beer in the middle of a session with other beers, you’d be hard pressed to tell one from another. But, drink them together for comparison, and you can really appreciate the subtle differences.
We took Bailey’s folks to the Dove a while back and, as his Mum is a fan of wheat beers, helped her work through a few from their impressive selection.
Steenbrugge wit was like a drier, more lemony version of Hoegaarden. Next to Steenbrugge, Blanche de Bruxelles seemed to taste of honey, a flavour we’d never noticed before. Florisgaarden was the most interesting of the three, with a pleasing aroma and taste of juniper, which we really liked. Quite a surprise from the big boys. We’ll be nicking that idea for the next Belgian-style wit we brew at home.
It was in Regensburg, Bavaria, in 2007, that we first decided to start blogging, so excited were we by a glass of Spital Pils. On our recent holiday, we scheduled a one night stop-over to break the long train journey back to London, and had the chance to see if our opinions of the city had stood the test of time.
In 2007, we enjoyed Kneitinger Bock. We were nervous this time — what if it wasn’t as good as we remembered? It was, although Boak found it a bit too sweet this time. This time, though, we also tried the pils, which was a revelation, and one of the best beers of the holiday (“Good enough to be Czech,” we noted).
Our plan to re-drink all the beers we tried first time round was derailed, however, when we came across a new brewpub right in the centre of town which was crammed and lively. The Regensburger Weissbrauhaus was set up around a year and a half ago (despite a cheeky “Anno 1620″ claim based on the age of the building). They make a standard wheat beer, a dark wheat beer, and dark and light lagers. The light wheat beer was pretty exciting (modelled after Schneider, we thought, and really juicy) although a good part of its appeal was probably its freshness. The others were not so impressive — yeasty, sweetish, with the hops missing in action.
But, what the hey — it’s got to be good that the number of breweries in this beautiful city is increasing, right?