[July 1, 2014] I don’t normally have a workday beer with lunch, but when the temperature hits 90—in Vermont, mind you—it’s time to reconsider. Especially if, like me, you’ve been on a hefeweizen kick.
But I also wanted to get this post up since the first Wednesday of the month is nigh upon us, which means it’s time for another Tap Takeover at Wildwood Barbeque in Hadley, Massachusetts as noted below. I’ll be helping out my son-in-law at the taps again. While usually spotlighting regional breweries, this month Wildwood will pouring beers from Troëg’s Brewing Co. of Pennsylvania.
[Hold the presses–a balky air-conditioner combined with the blazing temperatures put the kibosh on the 7/2 Tap Takeover. The event was rescheduled for 7/9. Looking ahead to August 6, Lefty’s Brewing Company from Greenfield, Massachusetts will preside.]
Okay by me. My last run-in with the brewery was a yuletide wrestling match with Mad Elf, an 11% ABV heavyweight. Terrific then, although not one I’d want to tussle with in the recent toasty temperatures.
What has gone well with my fairly active schedule of late—lots of softball games, a few rounds of golf, the requisite yardwork—are hefeweizens, with all the sparkling zest and refreshment the style implies.
It also implies a strong phenolic and estery character, which translates as clove and banana aromas and flavors. This puts off some drinkers, but not me. I have to be in the mood for them, yes, but I have been. I haven’t had an IPA for a week, which is saying something.
I’ve happily been alternating my intake between Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (5.4% ABV) out of Freising, Germany and Rising Tide’s Spinnaker (4.5%) out of Portland, Maine. Since DreamWeaver (4.8%) isn’t distributed in Vermont I paid a trip to Falltowne Spirits in Bernardston, Massachusetts to score some, apparently shortly after a delivery was made.
All are fine beers, sharing the general characteristics of a vigorous carbonation, frothy white heads and, once the suspended yeast sediment is roused and added to the glass, a cloudy, burnished gold appearance. I find a citrus note along with the ubiquitous banana in all, little hop bitterness, but a crisp tart finish that is just what the weatherman ordered. There’s also a slight mineral quality to both the DreamWeaver and the Weihenstephaner, though neither were flawed by this.
The Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is the highest rated for the style on both the RateBeer and Beer Advocate websites, for what that’s worth. It is also one of the most frequently rated. The Spinnaker, with its far more regional distribution footprint, has barely been rated at all, though it holds its own when it is. DreamWeaver strikes a midpoint in the number of ratings and generally comes off well, too.
My rating might actually put the Mainer first, the German beer second, and DreamWeaver in the show position—all in the money. Despite the varied ABVs, the DreamWeaver struck me as slightly thinner in flavor than the other two. But it still whets my appetite to try it on tap at Wildwood.
It also looks like I’ll be ending my IPA embargo, since two will be available—the year-round Perpetual IPA (7.5%) as well as the 142nd entry in Troëg’s small batch Scratch Beer Series, a Session IPA (4.9%). The seasonal Sunshine Pils will also be on hand, the Troegenator Doppelbock for those who must go big (8.2%) and the flagship HopBack Amber Ale (6.0%).
Brewer: Troëg’s Brewing Company, Hershey, Pennsylvania
Availability: Year-round, in PA, NJ, NY, MD, DE, OH, MA, VA and D.C.
For More Information: www.troegs.com
Related Post: TAP Beer of the Week: Rising Tide Phobos & Deimos