HEFEWEIZENS ARE thirst-quenching gulpers by nature, but Hofbräu München has aimed to expedite the process even further with their take on the German classic. Though some yeast does lurk stickily at the bottom of the bottle, overall this Hefeweizen is hard to recognize as such: with an unusual clarity more evocative of lager, it has relatively little of the wheaty, yeasty, and richly fruity plumage of a traditional unfiltered brew. And no, this is not the Kristall Weisse.
In fairness, Hofbräu does nail some style points such as the light body, radiant straw golden hue, medium-high carbonation, and an initially proud and tall white head (admittedly one that settles without much of a fight). But the experience is incomplete: wheat comes through more on the palate than in the aroma, along with a modicum of lemon twang early and a touch of peppercorn late. There’s also a strange note of chlorine in the aroma, pushing aside the usual pleasant phenols of clove and signature banana ester. Some of that smooth fruitiness returns in the flavor, but here, too, the phenols muscle up with a little medicinal and slightly brackish smack. Each positive element has its delta.
Given the generally strong showings by Hofbräu on their native turf, one wonders how much of this criticism results from green bottle syndrome. Certainly the beer’s nearly kristallweizen clarity (arguably even thinness) can’t be explained away by ill-handling, but myriad other trials between Der Vaterland and the American Midwest could have compromised the highly temperature-sensitive qualities of Hefeweizen. Especially one so delicate as this. Thus assume at least three points lost in transit for this bottle, dropping it from satisfying exemplar to mild disappointment.
Served: 33 cl bottle