The hefeweizen can trace its ancestry back to 1520s Bavaria, Germany and many regard it as the original wheat beer. As just one of a number of wheat beers, this ale is probably the most common. Hefeweizen translates as ‘yeast beer’ and is very aptly named. A hefeweizen beer is all about the yeast; from the cloudy appearance to the powerful and unusual aroma – think bananas and cloves! Follow your nose and find hefeweizens at Beers of Europe.
Remember the Reinheitsgebot, the Bavarian Purity Law which mandated that beer could only be made with four ingredients: barley, hops, water, and yeast? Apparently wheat did was not accepted as being the same as barley and the hefeweizen side stepped the rules. Brewed with at least 50% wheat malts, along with the barley and using a top-fermenting ale yeast, the hefeweizen is left unfiltered. This cloudiness makes it almost instantly recognisable. This crisp ale also boasts a stupendous white head.
Like other wheat beers, a hefeweizen is best served in specific glass. The weizenbier glass or vase is usually almost as tall as a pilsner glass, with a narrow base that widens to resemble a tulip, narrowing again at the rim. This shape is specifically designed to aid the formation of the dense white head.
The hefeweizen style was quickly adopted by other countries and depending upon where hefeweizen brewed, the name can alter slightly. Sometimes German brewers also change the name for international markets. Commonly in Germany, it is known as weissbier, weizenbier or simply weisse. At Beers of Europe you can sample over 60 varieties of hefeweizen from 12 different countries.