Beer Style Musings: The Hefeweizen

Beer Style Musings: The Hefeweizen

Welcome to our ongoing Beer Style Musings series. Every beer style has its own history, profile, and great list of food to pair it with. We are here to share our knowledge to give you a little extra insight when it comes to choosing your beer for the day. Today, we will discuss…

The Hefeweizen

History: A German classic, “Hefe” means yeast in German and “Weizen” means wheat, so a Hefeweizen refers to an unfiltered wheat beer that includes yeast. Wheat beers were among those forbidden under the German purity law of 1516. This law only allowed production of beers with no adjuncts or non-barley grains. Due to the popularity of wheat beer among royalty, it was the first style to receive an exemption. The Hefeweizen eventually came to America with the wave of German immigrants in the 19th century. The sale of wheat beers began to rise after WWII.

Profile: Hefeweizens are top-fermented and use significant amounts of malted wheat. Sometimes as much as 50 to 65% of the mash is made up of wheat. This unfiltered beer remains cloudy thanks to the suspended yeast. It is generally a medium-bodied, crisp, drinkable brew with a low to moderate alcohol content. Classic hefeweizens are noted as being sweet and fruity with notes of banana and clove. Often served with a lemon wedge to either cut the wheat or yeast edge, many find this to be an insult and something that damages the beer’s taste and head retention.

Food Pairings: Hefeweizens require light, refreshing food to bring out their subtle flavors. It pairs best with with summer salads, seafood, creamy pasta, and delicate chicken dishes. They are also a great friend to fresh cheeses, such as creamy, luscious burrata and mozzarella di bufala, especially with slices of ripe summer tomatoes.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: somewhere between 4.0-7.0%

Types of Hefeweizens: Check out the top rated beers in the Hefeweizen category here.

Let us know about your favorite hefeweizen. We are always open to trying new beers!

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