Sierra Nevada Brewing Company is known for their Pale Ale. A beer that was introduced with more hop flavor than other beers at the time. In fact that beer is now copied by more people wanting to brew a Cascade Pale Ale then probably any other style in America. They are creative and sometimes that creativity is directed at recreating a traditional style not commonly produced.
Kellerweis Hefeweizen is just such a beer. Kellerweis Hefeweizen is one of a handful of the only American Hefeweizens made using a traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation. Most times fermentation is closed as wild yeast introduced into beer causes bad beer (or off flavored beer). Kellerweis and Lambic beers are a couple of examples of beer that use this open fermentation method.
The first thing to remember about this beer, as well as any bottle conditioned beer, is when pouring the beer leave about a third of it in the bottle and swirl it to collect the yeast sitting at the bottom of the bottle. The reason for this is that yeast provides some of the flavor that most people enjoy about wheat beers.
With that in mind let’s get to the tasting.
The aroma is of banana, cloves, and a slight hint of wheat bread. The color of the head is off-white while the body is a hazy golden straw (think of the color of wheat as it turns from green to gold). The haziness is due to the yeast that is now floating in the beer since stirring and pouring it back in. The initial taste I got was that of cloves. The main body of the beer tasted of bananas and wheat while the finish was primarily banana flavored. The mouthfeel was smooth to the point of it being almost creamy. The kind of creamy that reminds me of eating fresh baked banana bread while it’s still hot so the butter melts quickly giving it a creamy texture. My overall impression is that this beer (along with almost every other wheat beer out there) would make an excellent summer beer as it’s light and crisp. I could easily see my self sitting around a grill with friends while drinking this beer.
There are a lot of breweries that produce some form of wheat ale. Sometimes it’s an American Wheat (like Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat) and sometimes it’s a hefeweizen like these listed below.
Shiner Hefeweizen – Spoetzl Brewing Co.
No. 9 American Hefeweizen – Lb. Brewing Co.
EOS Hefeweizen – Nebraska Brewing Co.
Mom Hefeweizen – Rogue
Shlafly Hefeweizen – St. Louis Brewing Co.
The thing to remember is that almost every brewery has some form of wheat beer. Each one is as different as the last.