Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Franziskaner Weissbier (Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu)

This week, one of my Beer Club brethren kicked in the Franziskaner Weissbier (helles version -- they also make a dunkel). Thanks and kudos to whomever that was. The Munich-based brewery that produces this beer traces its roots back to 1363. Let that sink in for a minute, huh? To put it in perspective, that is 129 years before the voyage of Columbus, and 153 years before the Reinheitsgebot was passed. I reckon these dudes know their way around a mash tun.

The pour brings up two inches of white, meringue-like head. (Special pouring instructions on the brewery website advise dispensing most of the beer into the glass, then swizzling the last eighth or so in the bottle and pouring it in, to ensure that all residual yeast gets included in the flavor.) Lemon, sour apple, yeast, and very faint clove are in the nose. Through the glass, the beer is pale orange and very cloudy, per its unfiltered, bottle-conditioned origins, and per the silt you just added if you followed their pouring instructions.

The first impression upon sipping is of a zesty, brightly carbonated brew. Again the word "lemony" springs to mind to characterize the tart, refreshing flavor. There is almost no phenolic, "banana" component, the note that has put me off many a weissbier. The wheat ingredient obviously contributes to the brightness of the flavor and the lightness of the body. In fact, there's so much going on with the bitter hops, spicy yeast, and seltzer-like carbonation that a mild malt flavor really doesn't appear until the aftertaste.

This is a splendidly brewed beer I find thoroughly enjoyable despite the fact that this style is among my least favorite in the beer spectrum. That says loads about its quality and craftsmanship. A classic in every sense of the word.

Featured beer:

Franziskaner Weissbier

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