Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

American Hefeweizens

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

  1. lotsaswigs

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Posts:
    133
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Indiana
    True true. I guess I could start a petition for American brewers to start calling those beers "place to store things" and "male goat" instead...doesn't quite sound as tasty or have the same ring though. ;)
     
  2. stevegoz

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    Posts:
    702
    Likes Received:
    513
    Location:
    Illinois
    I second/third/google the NG Dancing Man Wheat and Two Brothers Ebel's Weiss recommendations.
     
  3. Scalzo

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Posts:
    326
    Likes Received:
    1,255
    Location:
    Illinois
    Dry Dock and New Glarus make great American Hefe's
     
  4. MusicaleMike

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    220
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Yeah, there is another style of beer called the American Pale Wheat Ale, which should not have any of the typical Bavarian Hefeweizen aromas (banana, clove, bubblegum...) and there are American breweries producing these "clean" wheat ales and calling them "hefeweizen" which just means "wheat beer with yeast." So while Pyramid Hefeweizen may sound misleading, it really is an unfiltered wheat ale. The only difference is the type of yeast used. Pyramid is probably using a regular ale yeast.

    Bavarian Hefeweizen yeast is a very unique ale yeast, and without it, you won't get those notes of banana and clove. The benefit of using a standard American/English Ale yeast is that the fresh, subtle flavor of the wheat can be highlighted more and ultimately, it is more drinkable, therefore appealing to a wider audience of drinkers.

    Good examples of American-made traditional Bavarian-style Hefeweizens have been already listed, so I will just second the ones I have tried here:
    Live Oak Hefeweizen
    Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat
    Victory Sunrise Weiss
    Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss
    Firestone Walker Solstice
     
  5. hopfenunmaltz

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Posts:
    9,038
    Likes Received:
    6,965
    Location:
    Michigan
    The German wheat beer yeast and some Belgian ale yeasts have the POF gene active. That stands for Phenolic Off Flavor, which is true for the majority of beers, but is a desired trait in some beers.
     
  6. SBMRL

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2011
    Posts:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Michigan
    new glarus dancing man and imperial hefe are amazing. Penn brewery makes an awesome hefe too.
    .
     
  7. litheum94

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Posts:
    1,471
    Likes Received:
    1,872
    Location:
    California
    That was one of the underwhelming beers for me. Tasted like fruit loops.
     
  8. Wisconsin

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Posts:
    353
    Likes Received:
    271
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    When it comes to wheat beers everyone in the US is playing for second to Dan Carey.

    - Dancing Man Wheat
    - Laughing Fox
    - Crack'd Wheat
    - Imperial Weizen

    As far as hefeweizens go only Weihenstephaner was better IMO.
     
  9. Porkhustle

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2012
    Posts:
    222
    Likes Received:
    222
    Victory makes a nice one, Sunrise Weiss
     
  10. FosterJM

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Posts:
    2,201
    Likes Received:
    1,512
    Location:
    California
    Where in the hell have I been? Paulaner in a can? Fo Realz?

    Cheers!
     
    jl28r1 likes this.
  11. Jimjohson

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Posts:
    58
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Georgia
    Good and American hefeweizen? Been my experience that those words are mutually exclusive, so far.
     
  12. rrski198

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Posts:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Little known brewery in Missouri called Crown Valley makes one called "work truck wheat." Its a fantastic representation of the Euro Hefe
     
  13. PABSTMASTER

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Posts:
    137
    Likes Received:
    116
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    In heat wheat is dead on.
     
  14. daledeee

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Posts:
    21
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Iowa
    Dancing Man Wheat. Rival's the German stuff. Yes, only Wisconsin. Not sure if they make it all the time.
     
  15. PittBeerGirl

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Posts:
    254
    Likes Received:
    613
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'd like to throw in Penn Weizen and East End Monkey Boy.

    I do have to say that PA has a boatload of German subculture and a lot of brewpubs who produce so great traditional German brews- some are certainly German themed (like Penn, Victory and Stoudts) and others incorporate good German brews. Most of these brewing companies also make killer bocks, maibocks, munich dunkels, octoberfest...etc.

    Although some New Glarus Brews I've traded for are good Hefes- Sierra Nevada Keller Weisse has nothing on these.
     
  16. kingofhop

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Posts:
    3,021
    Likes Received:
    6,782
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Thank Gawd for American Wheats. I can't stand banana or clove. American wheats should not be called Hefes. Two totally different types of beer.
     
  17. EdH

    EdH

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Posts:
    216
    Likes Received:
    112
    Location:
    Utah
    I think the "American Hefeweizen" pseudo-style is basically a result of the need for nineties brewpubs to have a passable beer for customers who would walk in to a microbrewery and order a Bud.
     
  18. blacktieman

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Posts:
    3
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Yazoo Hefeweizen is spot-on, strong banana and a bit of clove. Not widely available outside TN, but gets a medal at GABF from time to time.
     
  19. scootny

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Posts:
    35
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    New York
    Have to add Victory Mad King's Weiss as well, ( better than Sunrise ) but the best examples in America are Live Oak, and Dancing Man. Brooklyn makes a fine example as well but it can only be found on tap these days as Garret was not pleased with the inconsistent quality of the bottles.
     
  20. scootny

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2007
    Posts:
    35
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    New York
    There is a reason BA separates America Wheat from Hefe btw.
     
  21. UCLABrewN84

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Posts:
    7,936
    Likes Received:
    7,933
    Location:
    California
    Another vote for Dry Dock.
     
  22. EdH

    EdH

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Posts:
    216
    Likes Received:
    112
    Location:
    Utah
    Of course... but a lot of American Wheats are named "Hefeweizen", which is confusing--especially for those who haven't spent a lot of time going over style guidelines (i.e. most people).
     
    litheum94 likes this.
  23. steveh

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Posts:
    7,118
    Likes Received:
    5,801
    Location:
    Illinois
    You're very correct, and you can blame Widmer for starting the trend.
     
  24. MusicaleMike

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    220
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Back when Widmer started, there was nothing else they could have called it. It was literally a "wheat beer with yeast" which is exactly what "hefeweizen" means. They used a standard ale yeast to brew the beer instead of a South German hefeweizen yeast and so they got a much cleaner yeast profile. I doubt they are interested in changing the name to reflect the new standard style name "Light American Wheat Ale with Yeast."
     
  25. jesskidden

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Posts:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    17,985
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Both Anchor and Schell's had brewed US wheat beers before Widmer (in fact, as noted by Jace Marti of Schell's, they were brewed on the same day in 1984 so they are "tied" for the first modern US wheat beer).

    Anchor called theirs Anchor Wheat Beer (now called "Anchor Summer Beer") and Schell's Hefeweizen was originally labeled Schell's Weiss Beer with the notation on the label that "Sediment is natural to weiss beer".
     
    litheum94 likes this.
  26. steveh

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Posts:
    7,118
    Likes Received:
    5,801
    Location:
    Illinois
    But Hefeweizen was already established as the sort of beer you'd expect from Bavaria, with all those phenols and big flavor -- not the lame, bland stuff Widmer was trying to pass off.

    As mentioned above, when I first saw the Widmer beer available I was excited because I thought I was getting a real Hefeweizen. You can imagine my disappointment.
     
    acelin likes this.
  27. MusicaleMike

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    220
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I never had Schell's wheat beer, but that is pretty cool to know that they and Anchor brewed their first wheat on the same day!

    When did Schell's change the name to Hefeweizen? I take back my sentiment that they couldn't have called it something else. Clearly, a marketing/branding decision was made for some reason or another (show off the German hefeweizen inspiration, more interesting than "Wheat Beer", wanted to easily encapsulate the fact that it was an unfiltered wheat beer, etc.)

    Now, they seem to be moving from Hefeweizen as their main brand and focus of growth and seem to be putting more resources behind their "crafty" image.
     
  28. jesskidden

    Subscriber

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2005
    Posts:
    7,772
    Likes Received:
    17,985
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Well, Anchor apparently doesn't think it "cool" ;) since they're still claiming that "First brewed in the summer of 1984, Anchor Summer ® Beer is the first American wheat beer in modern times" even though they are aware of Schell's brewing date. Can't find Jace Marti's mention of it, I thought it was in his response to the recent Brewers Association "Blacklist" but it may have been just in a BA forum post and I don't recall his BA screen name.

    I have this vague memory that Joe Ortlieb once mentioned considering brewing a wheat beer, but I guess he never got to before throwing in the bar towel and selling out to C. Schmidt's & Sons.

    Not sure, but they definitely consider it the same beer as their original Weiss Beer on their webpage: "Hefeweizen-
    First brewed in 1984..."
     
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Posts:
    9,038
    Likes Received:
    6,965
    Location:
    Michigan
    The Widmer brothers spent time in Germany, and the house yeast was brought back from Zum Uerige so it is an Alt yeast. Alt was what they thought would be the flagship for them, the wheat beer took off. You can find the Alt at their Gasthaus in Portland, and it may be the best I have had in the US.
     
  30. MusicaleMike

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Posts:
    220
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Is their house yeast the same today? Do they maintain that same yeast at their other breweries? Good to know about their Alt...I'll have to try it next time I am in Portland. That style is not very well represented here in the US.
     
  31. Chaz

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Posts:
    2,710
    Likes Received:
    6,034
    Location:
    Minnesota
    MusicaleMike said:
    When did Schell's change the name to Hefeweizen?​
    I was working retail when the change was made, and want to say that it was 2002. I recall it distinctly because the first year it had a load of yeast in the bottle, all of the local homebrew geeks were oohing and ahhing at the 'floaties'. I used to call 'em 'yeast geeks', as they tried to culture and brew from the stuff... :D
     
  32. hopfenunmaltz

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Posts:
    9,038
    Likes Received:
    6,965
    Location:
    Michigan
    After this much time it has changed, and is not as flocculant. Which is a plus for most wheat beers. I only know the place in Portland.
     
  33. steveh

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Posts:
    7,118
    Likes Received:
    5,801
    Location:
    Illinois
    I can't recall if I tried the Widmer Alt when I was in Portland many moons ago, but it was that same Gasthaus where I tried the wheat for the first time.

    Have you had any opportunity to try Metropolitan's Alt as comparison? I know it's not easy to find outside of the Chicago area, but it's real good -- not just a re-labeled Brown Ale as most Alts tend to be, it's got a real smooth character.
     
  34. hopfenunmaltz

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Posts:
    9,038
    Likes Received:
    6,965
    Location:
    Michigan
    Only ha e had one of their beers, but might try some more soon.
     
  35. CASK1

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Posts:
    537
    Likes Received:
    876
    Location:
    Florida
    Kind of like Miller Lite calling itself a "true Pilsner beer"...
     
  36. Mississipping

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Posts:
    235
    Likes Received:
    252
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I came here to say the same thing. Yazoo's Hefe is absolutely fantastic! I'm not a big hefeweizen fan, but the Yazoo is ALWAYS in my fridge. Really reminds me of Dancing Man but is easier to come across ... at least in the south. If you're a fan of this style, it's a must-try in my opinion.
     
  37. budgood1

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2001
    Posts:
    11
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Schell Hefeweizen.
     
  38. Dougology

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Posts:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Italy
    It's 2016, any good American Hefeweizens yet? I keep trying and they keep sucking.
     
  39. Scott17taylor

    Beer Trader

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Posts:
    2,556
    Likes Received:
    10,136
    Location:
    Iowa
    New glarus dancing man is really good. Live oak also gets great ratings, never had it can't judge.
     
  40. acelin

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Posts:
    559
    Likes Received:
    531
    Location:
    Kansas
    The flavor has nothing from the yeast, why do they need to include that? It's just an American Pale Wheat Ale that's unfiltered. It's a pretty crappy one at that.
     
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe