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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Happens When A German Hefe-Weisse Meets an American IPA

One of my favorite things about craft beer is the experimentation that brewers do. Brewing style guidelines are fine, but why limit yourself? To a craft brewer, nothing is off limits, and it often creates some interesting hybrid style beers.

Some of these experiments are hits and spawn un-godly, prolonged trends, like the current, and hopefully done with, Black IPA trend.

Others miss the mark, like say, bacon flavored beer.

Today's IPA month beer is just this type of experiment, and its a hit.

Big time.

Weiss Principal Ale
Peak Organic Brewing Company, 
Portland, ME
8.6% ABV

This beer is so new its not even listed on the brewers web site. Luckily, I subscribe to their emails, so I got the inside tip that it was coming. Here is what the email annoncement said about this brew:

  "It’s the international love child of a Hefe-Weiss and an American Double IPA.  This 8.7% unfiltered wheat beer employs a traditional German Weiss yeast, providing engaging banana and clove notes.  A stern dry–hopping of pungent American hops provide pronounced citrus, pine and fruit notes.  It’s so tasty, it may be punishable"

(Unbeknownst to me, the use of the word "punishable" was a hint as to what was about to happen to my taste buds.)

This beer pours a light orange yellow, hazy, with only a thin lacing of head on the surface. Be careful when pouring, as this is an unfiltered wheat style, and sediment can end up in the glass. (this is really harmless and tasteless, but it looks bad)

Smell is intense- alcohol, cloves, bananas, hops. The aroma presents like a wheat beer on steroids. Its absolutely pungent.

Mouthfeel is light and airy, which is a huge surprise given the punch in the face the aroma presents. Its texturally very light, but active, with lots of bubbles.

Taste is as intense as the smell, but even more complex. Initially a wash of pure alcohol drowns the taste buds, and is followed by spice, cloves, then an intense, super bitter, resinous piney hop flavor overtakes everything. Finish is dry, with a super subtle fruit taste.

This is one assertive, intense, bad-ass brew. The intense flavor and smell are impressive. A very unique take on the IPA style. I don't know if the two styles- German Heffe-Weiss and American IPA- compliment or fight each other, but the result is a potent, flavorful brew.

Recommended, but be warned- this is one aggressive, assertive brew. Anything that is 8.6% abv, yet actually taste higher, should be consumed in moderation.

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