Tuesday 29 June 2010

Wheat beers

I've developed an urge for wheat beer recently. I think it probably started when I was in a Sam Smith's pub the other week, as their one cask beer is so dull I often drink the wheat beer. The unseasonably sunny weather must have something to do with it too. I've got used to guzzling wheat beers when on summer climbing trips to the Dolomites, in the German speaking (and more importantly German beer drinking) part of Italy. 

My local Waitrose sells Erdinger and as there's an Erdinger glass in the kitchen cupboard that seemed a good place to start. 

The alarm bells should have started ringing when I looked at the bottle though. It was 5.3% ABV which puts it at the weaker end of the German wheat beers. I can remember one Summer researching the various wheat beers on offer, which ranged from 5.2 to 5.6% ABV and finding that each increment in ABV improved the beer. Being at the lower end the Erdinger was definitely lacking, so even though I had the proper glass (and wheat beer glasses do look the business) it was a bit of a disappointment. 

My next beer was one I bought when stocking up for my World Cup beer sweep stake entry.   Troublette is a Belgian wheat beer, slightly stronger (5.5% ABV) but a far better beer. Lots of flavour, but still refreshing a few more of these would have gone down very nicely.  

As I'm a bit out of practice with wheat beer I can't really remember what are meant to be the defining characteristics of German and Belgian wheat beers. Cloves and bananas Vs Coriander and Curaçao orange peel? Anyway the Erdinger didn't have much flavour and the Troublette did. 

And to complete the international line up, I also found a wheat beer from England. Whitstable's Raspberry Wheat (5.2%) would I guess be more at the Belgian end of things, what with having raspberries in it. 

It was totally different from the other two though, having a touch of sourness in the taste, but not unpleasantly so. It wasn't really one for guzzling, as there's only so much sourness I can take, but it had the refreshingness I was after. 

If anyone could recommend me some more wheat beer to enjoy whilst the weather's still hot I'm all ears.  


  1. My favourite fairly easy to find German wheat is Schneider Weisse - lovely stuff, a touch maltier than some, with a bit of colour in its cheeks, and not too much clove flavour that some of them have. (if you're after something stronger they also do Aventinus at about 8%ABV & some rarer beefier brews)

  2. If you're tired of Old Brewery Bitter, you're tired of life :p

  3. Erdinger is brewed to be bland pish and it's nothing to do with the ABV. Schneider is quite a bit better and the yeast in still live so can be cultured up for homebrewing!

  4. I have to agree with Mudge. I like a weiss from time to time, but Sam Smiths Organic Wheat beer is kinda rank. Old brewery, cheap as chips and quite neckable for a pong

  5. Thanks for the recommendation I'll give Schneider a go.

    Maybe the Old Brewery Bitter is better up North? I mostly go to Sam Smith's pubs in London and they're the only ones where I'll drink keg beer out of choice.

  6. Blanche de Honelles from Abbaye de Roc and St Bernadus Wit are two favourite Witbiers, spicy, sour-sweet, orangy and delicious, while I second Schneider Weiss and its older brothers, but also have a soft spot for Maisel’s and Konig Ludwig’s as well as Svyturys Baltas from Lithuania.

  7. My fav is Maisel Weiss but I can only find it in one local pub and they have the glasses to match. I agree with your comment regarding Erdinger, but I was happily surprised to find an Erdinger Dunkel which is a much more flavoursome 'dark' wheat beer.