Style: Dampfbier, SMASH
Fermented with German Weizen yeast
Tasting notes: soda cracker, lemon lime bubblegum, white pepper
Pair with: Tuna Poke, BTYF Pretzel, The Candied Chicken, The Farmers Garden
Early August in southern Germany and it was hot and humid. Upper 80s, lower 90s, and humid enough you swam rather than walked. We got off the bus in the middle of the village of Freising, just outside Munich. I scanned my surroundings and found a small signing pointing me towards my goal, the oldest brewery in the world, and one of my favorites – Weihenstephan.
We passed businesses and residential blocks before turning onto a small forested path. Still swelteringly hot, we were all pretty sure we had taken a wrong turn, but we persisted. Eventually, we popped out of the forest and saw the massive brewery in the distance. Passing by a statue of a bear carrying a couple barrels, we found our way to the small shaded biergarten. Too hot and humid for the locals, but not for us lifelong midwesterners, we practically had the garden to ourselves. It wasn't long before we forgot about the heat and the long journey (and I don't remember much about the return trip back to the bus stop...)
I bring this story up because, as with many things in life, often times the journey is just as important as the destination. This recipe followed a similar path – I wanted to clone Weihenstephan's Kristallweizen and after a few homebrew batches just not dropping crystal clear like their's, I was ready to give up and admit defeat. On my final batch, too late I realized I forgot the wheat. That's an important part of a weizen – as in it makes up over half the fermentable grain. I decided to continue with the brew, using 100% Pilsner malt. The end result was the closest I'd gotten to cloning one of my favorite beers.
It may look like a crystal clear Pilsner, but it tastes like a cloudy Hefeweizen. Without the wheat, it's not nearly as chewy and filling meaning you can have more on a hot humid day in a biergarten (or patio) too.