American Hefeweizens

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by litheum94, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    I'm drinking a Pyramid Hefeweizen right now, and I fail to see how this is a hefeweizen. It's overlly carbonated and is completely lacking in that typical yeast flavor that German hefes have (banana, clove, etc). It seems that a lot of American brewers are guilty of throwing some wheat into the grain bill and then labeling the beer as a Hefe.

    The only American hefeweizen that I've ever enjoyed was Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss, which is fantastic. Is there any other good American example of the style?
    devlishdamsel likes this.
  2. Boozledooz

    Boozledooz Initiate (0) Jul 8, 2011 Colorado

    Dry Dock Hefeweizen.
    alexipa, Domingo and yemenmocha like this.
  3. jhartley

    jhartley Poo-Bah (2,400) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Just had a couple Flying Dog In-Heat Hefeweizen last night, not bad but this isn't my style at all. Will continue to try it, but just not into it.
  4. CASK1

    CASK1 Disciple (336) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

    Hefeweizen means "yeasty wheat beer". The yeast strain makes all the difference. German strains are well known for the banana esters and clove-like phenolics. American strains do not produce these compounds. They are two very different beer styles. If the grain includes wheat and the beer has some yeast in it, it can be called a "hefeweizen". Other characters will determine if it is a (good or bad) American or German version.
  5. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (298) Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

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  6. Mfedonczak

    Mfedonczak Initiate (0) Aug 18, 2008 Texas

    Live Oak hefeweizen is the best American example I have had.
  7. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    Well, that would explain why I don't like American Hefeweizens. It seems weird to stray from using the German yeast strain, as it is so distinctive. When I think hefeweizen, I think about that. Any other beer that's missing those characteristics would be labeled a wheat beer, I would think.

    After all these years, I'm still learning new things.
  8. kirbmeist

    kirbmeist Initiate (0) Mar 16, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Troegs dreamweaver is tasty and reminds me of keller
    szmnnl99, comfortablynirm and rjknyy like this.
  9. rfbenavi80

    rfbenavi80 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Missouri

    Drink 2 Dancing Man Wheat by New Glaurs and call me in the morning........
  10. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    Send me some? :slight_smile:
    beerFool28607 likes this.
  11. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,459) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Prost & Dry Dock in Denver
    Live Oak in Texas.

    Since I lack access to these I just drink the German ones and they're coming in more fresh in the last year or so, especially Ayinger & Paulaner's new cans.
    jzeilinger and champ103 like this.
  12. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    Paulaner in a can is great. The 8 packs are perfect for bbqs.
    yemenmocha likes this.
  13. rfbenavi80

    rfbenavi80 Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2010 Missouri

    I would if I could get it.........:slight_frown:
    litheum94 likes this.
  14. loony4lambic

    loony4lambic Initiate (0) Nov 26, 2012 California

    From experience Hefe's are supposed to be pretty damn carbed up. Why would this be an issue?
    Jimjohson likes this.
  15. VitoFerrante

    VitoFerrante Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Lets not confuse an American Pale Wheat Ale with a traditonal Hefe. Some breweries will label one over the other. I do love a good Hefe, but an American example is tough. I agree on the Dreamweaver. It will always be fresher than a beer shipped from Europe. Good posting here guys!
    MusicaleMike and beertunes like this.
  16. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Defender (619) May 29, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

  17. cid71

    cid71 Initiate (135) Mar 2, 2009 New Jersey

    Ramstein here in new Jersey is good but wrong.coast for you
    dennis3951 likes this.
  18. victory4me

    victory4me Zealot (547) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    Sly Fox Royal Weiss is my personal favorite.
    VitoFerrante likes this.
  19. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Live Oak x 1,000,000

    Them hippies make some good hefe.
  20. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (852) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Kellerweiss is great and a perfect imitation of the German hefes.

    I'm also a fan of Gordon Biersch's hefeweizen. Gordon Biersch is mostly pretty lame, but the hefeweizen is nice and pretty authentic tasting

    I would love to try Live Oak with all I've heard about it
  21. abcramer

    abcramer Disciple (348) Feb 6, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Sierra Nevada's Kellerweis is hard to beat when it comes to American hefeweizens.
    xxbillay likes this.
  22. devlishdamsel

    devlishdamsel Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2009 Washington

    Frankly after i have had real German Weissbier ( on tap). I can't buy any American heffe or bottled heffe. It's just not the same!
  23. IamMe90

    IamMe90 Initiate (0) Sep 4, 2012 Wisconsin

    Only one mention of new glarus dancing man wheat? So far definitively the best american hefeweizen i've ever had.
  24. BB1313

    BB1313 Poo-Bah (2,558) Jul 16, 2009 Ohio

    Fat Head's Goggle Fogger Hefeweizen is truly an awesome example of the style. They don't bottle it, although I'd like to think they will bottle/can it in the future. It's usually always on-tap.
  25. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,793) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    If ya ever find yourself up here in the Fourth Corner, you need to try Anacortes Hefeweizen. Very Germany, lots of banana, and clove, a bit of bubblegum. Perhaps the best American take on the style I'm yet to have. I'll also echo a comment from above, not all wheat beers are Hefe's. Double check what you're trying.
  26. JerzDevl2000

    JerzDevl2000 Poo-Bah (2,142) Oct 7, 2005 New Jersey

    Last American Hefeweizen that I truly enjoyed was the Lakefront Wisconsinite. All-organic, local products, nicely priced, and good enough to make me think that it was brewed overseas.
    tigernipples likes this.
  27. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Initiate (149) Jan 24, 2006 Michigan

    Just wanted to get back to the original part of your OP about the yeast strain, because I'm in total agreement that American brewers are doing everyone a disservice when they label an American wheat beer a hefeweizen. The word itself is German which translates directly to yeast wheat beer. In my opinion if you are going to use a German word to describe the style of your beer, then it should indeed represent the characteristics that are found in a true german hefe.

    It seems the only reason some brewers use the word improperly (again, my opinion) is that they think it sounds better or is more catchy or whatever, basically a way to advertise their product in a way I find very misleading. Particularly because I find most American wheats to be overwhelmingly bland while their german counterparts are generally very flavorful due to the phenol properties of the yeast described above, it is very misleading to the consumer to label them as hefeweizens.

    I'd definitely like the opportunity to try some of the others mentioned in this thread, but the SN Kellerweiss is the closest I've come across to being authentic as well.
    litheum94 likes this.
  28. Frankinstiener

    Frankinstiener Initiate (0) Jul 28, 2009 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Besides Sierra Neveda Keller all of these are easily acessible here in Illinois and are all real hefeweizens which I like.

    Two Brothers: Ebel's Weiss
    Flying Dog: In Heat Wheat
    Sand Creek: Lilja's Hefer Weizen
    Grand Teton: Howling Wolf Weisse Bier

    Just stay away from Pyramid and Widmer Hefewizen which are both American pale wheat ales.
  29. Derranged

    Derranged Devotee (479) Mar 7, 2010 New York

    victory4me likes this.
  30. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Probably because it's only sold in one state in the country.

    Capital and Sprecher used to make great Bavarian Weizen, SN Kellerweiss is terrific too.
  31. TwelveOunces

    TwelveOunces Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2011 Kentucky

    Sierra Nevada Kellerweis is not to be overlooked
  32. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (471) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    I've posted this before, but a decent story concerning "American Hefeweizen".

    I went to a tasting last year and someone from Pyramid was there proclaiming their wheat beer to be "the world's best Hefeweizen". I love Hefe's and hadn't had it; and yes, it's a very bland beer. And so I asked "where's the clove? the banana? any yeast character?" At which time the rep explained to me that this was an "American Hefeweizen". I did not explain to her that Hefe translates into yeast. But I did decide to never purchase another Pyramid beer. Major pet peeve.
  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,305) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    What about US brewers (and others around the world) using German words like "lager" and "bock"? :wink:
    beertunes likes this.
  34. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (1,972) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    At least in those cases they're making some attempt to brew the same type of beer.

    All I remember is my first taste of Widmer Hefeweizen (what, '89?) thinking, "This is cool, a micro-brewed Hefeweizen." and then -- bleah, what's this?

    Basically, it's false advertising! :wink:
  35. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    Thank you for saying what I was trying to say more eloquently.
  36. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,243) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    The ones from Dry Dock and Live Oak are the best I've had. SN Kellerweis and Dancing Man aren't far behind, too.
    Compared to German lager styles like Pils, helles, dunkel, etc. I'd say American brewers are actually doing pretty well with weizens. Not all of them are great, but not too many are full-on duds either. Even the brewpub chains like Ram and BJ's make versions I'll happily drink.
  37. litheum94

    litheum94 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2008 California

    That's actually a good call about BJ's. I am constantly underwhelmed by their beers, but the hefeweizen is a very good beer.
  38. RKPStogie

    RKPStogie Initiate (0) Nov 4, 2011 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Schell's Hefeweizen...oh wait the BA doesn't consider them a "craft" brewery so it might not count:wink:
    budgood1 likes this.
  39. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,243) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Off topic a bit, but I like the Piranha, too. It's one of those pales that was probably listed as an IPA 6-7 years ago and it still has a fair amount of bite for an everyday pale ale.
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,112) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    A number of very good US craft brewed Hefeweizen beers have been mentioned (e.g., Live Oak, Sierra Nevada, etc.). Below is a list of some of the other quality US craft brewed Hefeweizen beers that I posted in another thread:


    · Troegs DreamWeaver Wheat (2012 GABF Gold Medal winner)
    · Stoudt’s Heifer-in-Wheat (2010 GABF Gold Medal winner)
    · Sly Fox Royal Weiss
    · Victory Sunrise Weiss
    · Etc.

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