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BREW CLUB Style of the Month: Hefeweizen

Franconia WheatDescription:
Another name for Weissbier, “hefe” means yeast and “weizen” means wheat, so Hefeweizen is “yeast wheat.” Germans prefer to call the brew Weissbier, while here in the U.S. it is generally referred to as Hefeweizen. The beer is yeast turbid because it is unfiltered.

A typical Hefeweizen has a very characteristic flavor that is produced by the interplay between the Hefeweizen ale yeasts and the trace elements from the large portion of wheat in the brew’s grain bill. This flavor is variably described as clove-like, banana-like, phenolic, sour, spicy or even bubblegum-like. Because of the complexity of the Hefeweizen flavor, these beers are only mildly hopped. This puts them in contrast to many blond lagers, such as the Pils/Pilsner, which are fairly strongly hopped for an assertive up-front bitterness.

For extra “spritziness,” most Hefeweizens are also, what is called, bottle-conditioned or tank-conditioned. This technique involves adding fresh, unfermented beer to the finished and fully fermented beer right before packaging the brew into kegs or bottles. At this stage, the finished beer still has plenty of live yeast cells in suspension that start a new fermentation with the added unfermented beer. In this process, the yeast converts the small amount of new sugar into additional alcohol and carbon dioxide. Because this final fermentation occurs in a hermetically-sealed environment (the bottle or the keg), the new carbon dioxide cannot escape. Instead, it is trapped in solution in the brew. This conditioning creates the Hefeweizen’s enormous effervescence.

Featured Beer:
Franconia Wheat: A Bavarian-Style Wheat Beer. Using an original German yeast strain in the brewing process contributes to the natural fruity flavor of banana, orange and cloves, giving it an outstanding and refreshing taste. It comes unfiltered, leaving all the natural goodness in it.

Franconia is located in McKinney, Texas, and was founded by Dennis Wehrmann. Born in Nurnberg, Germany, in the midst of Bavaria, he grew up in an area surrounded by several historic breweries. However, not just the area influenced his decision to become a brew master. You can tell the love for brewing beer must be inherited.

Beginning with his grandfather who owned the brewery Franken Braeu in Tanna, Germany, his mom has a degree as a brewery lab technician. The majority of his uncles were either brew masters or in some form involved in the brewing business.

The name Franconia means Franken in German, a small region within Germany having the largest number of breweries per population ratio in the world. Franken was also the birthplace of Wehrmann. It was also chosen to carry on the family brewery name of Franken Braeu.

Hefeweizen Food Pairings:
These beers pair well with any kind of cured pork, sausage or smoked ham. Roast or fried chicken, chicken Caesar salad, seafood (such as scallops, lobster and salmon), apple tarts and turnovers also pair well.

Avocado-Apple Salad with Balsamic Glaze

1 medium apple (Granny Smith or Pink Lady, preferred)
1 large avocado, firm but ripe
1 large tomato
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 romaine spears
2 Tbs mint, sliced into thin ribbons
vinaigrette dressing
balsamic glaze (located near the balsamic vinegar)

Cut and core the apple into 1-inch chunks. Add to a mixing bowl. Cut the avocado into 1-inch chunks. Core and cut the tomato to a similar size. Add to the mixing bowl. Stir gently to combine. Add the salt, mint and 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette.

Lay the romaine spears on salad plates. Fill the spears with the apple mixture. Drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze and add extra vinaigrette, if desired. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

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Posted in: Beer & Wine, Recipes