If you have never been to or heard of The Mayor of Old Town, then let me tell you about their tap selection. There are 100 taps, and they are arranged by style; light to dark with nitro taps at the very end. There are beers for someone who has never had a craft beer, ones for those with the most discerning palates, and everything in between. There is always an opportunity to try a new beer. Currently at Bettys we are working our way down the tap line up. We already had an “I like ‘light’ beer” flight a couple weeks ago and discussed lagers, pilsners, kolsch, blondes, etc. This week we learned about “Wits, Weiss, and Weizens”, or wheat beers. It was the perfect topic for our first class on The Mayor’s new patio.
Wheat beers are made with more wheat malt than barley, hence why they are known as wheat beers. The amount of wheat will vary by the beer. The malt is what gives the beer a lighter feel and flavor. However, it is the special yeast used to ferment the beer that produces the fruity, sometimes exotic flavors you will find; sweet like bananas, or spicy like cloves or coriander. If you have ever ordered a wheat beer, you know that they go by many different names. All of the names, except one, refer to a light, cloudy beer made with wheat. Beers labeled ‘weis’, ‘weiss’, or ‘weisse’ all mean the same thing, white, in German. They are typically beers found in northern Europe. ‘Weizen’ on the other hand, meaning ‘wheat’, refers to the Bavarian version of the beer. For nearly 300 years the Bavarian royal family exclusively brewed the style. Many ‘weizens’ have ‘hefe’ in front of it. Referring to the use of yeast in the beer, as the word means yeast. Lastly, ‘kristal’ refers to a clear, not cloudy, weizen.
Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier (5.0%ABV)- A cloudy orange brew, with a malty citrus smell. The spicy flavor had a hint of fruit on the end with a smooth finish. It was fizzy on the mouth feel.
Easy Street Wheat (4.6%ABV)- One of my go to favorites, this beer pours a hazy straw hue. The aroma is more spicy with coriander and citrus. These flavors are also present in the taste with more roasted notes than the first beer. Which leads to a crisp, flavorful finish.
Hoegaarden (4.9%ABV)- This light hued wheat holds a nice cloud of head. The yeasty smell has notes of banana and coriander. The smooth mouth feel and exotic yeast notes create a sweet taste that finishes perfect for a patio.
Blanche De Bruxelles (4.5%ABV)- This cloudy beer was the lightest of the four and white in color. With a sweet malty smell it was obvious it was a wheat, with a slight clove aroma. All of the beers had a light mouth feel, but this brew was a bit more cereal-heavy in taste. With a sweet, dry finish, it was a great start to the flight and an excellent example of a weissbeir.
Michelle showed us how to properly pour a wheat beer, with an inverted pour. While she didn’t have a large enough hefeweizen glass for the size of the bottle, and had to use a pint glass, using the proper glassware is recommended. First, you invert the glass and place it over the bottle. Next, flip them both over. Slowly lift the bottle with the head of the beer as it fills up the glass. If you want, you can swirl the last inch or so of beer in the bottle to get any extra yeast from the bottom of the bottle, before topping off your pour. Here is a video of the pour, sorry it is a bit hard to see.