Hefeweizens...the best beer style for great beer lovers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Lucular, Dec 4, 2015.

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  1. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
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    The majority of the top-rated hefeweizens are readily available AND affordable. That's not true for most other beer styles. Personally I've had 8 of the top 12 hefeweizens (as defined by the "Top Rated Beers" for the style) without putting forth any real effort at all. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier (#1 on the list) is one of my favorite beers ever and a six-pack is only $10-12!

    Are there any other styles that approach hefeweizens in terms of the best examples of a style being both widely available and economical?
  2. MiloDropsOutofCollege

    MiloDropsOutofCollege Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2015 Colorado

    Dry Dock makes one of the best American Hefeweizens I've ever had. $8.99 for a sixer.
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  3. aasher

    aasher Poo-Bah (3,609) Jan 27, 2010 Indiana

    That's the best thing about German beers, the classics are available almost everywhere.
  4. pat61

    pat61 Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota

    Hefewiezen is my go to breakfast beer
  5. Crim122

    Crim122 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2014 North Carolina

    I need to get on that Sierra Nevada hefewiezen.
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  6. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (225) Nov 3, 2005 California

    My favorite style, hands down. Loads of flavor, great aromas and all at sessionable 5-6% ABV.
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  7. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,632) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Live Oak, best American Hefe :wink: I'll put it up with any German bottle on the shelf in the States. Might be different if I was actually in Germany though.

    GOBLIN Meyvn (1,299) Mar 3, 2013 Ohio

    I personally think wheat beers in general are underappreciated.
    As far as other styles are concerned . . . Belgian Blondes or Blonde ales I think make for some good beer drinking, are available and economical.
  9. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
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    Live Oak is at the top of my list for hefeweizens I'd like to try!
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  10. BrewsingBuffalo

    BrewsingBuffalo Initiate (0) Jul 6, 2015 New York

    Weihenstephaner and Ayinger are my favorites, and to OPs point, are widely available (and well priced)
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  11. OldManMetal

    OldManMetal Initiate (0) Jun 5, 2015 North Carolina

    My favorite style, and it has been for a long time. As I've said elsewhere, Weihenstephaner is at the top of the heap for me.
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  12. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,632) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    Draught only in Texas, so it is a little hard to come by for most. Luckily for me it is on tap at about maybe a half dozen places within a short walk, at most a couple of miles drive from me.
  13. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,996) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    This is a bit of an exaggeration, but any style that's not one of the more popular/highly rated ones would fit the bill here.

    Belgian - Quads, Dubbels, Tripels, Witbiers

    German - Pilsners, Munich Helles/Dunkels, Dunkelweizens, Marzens...more or less all German styles listed on this site, freshness being the only issue here with the imports

    ....actually I'm not even going to finish this, my first statement covers it (I have to run for now, on a tight schedule). I'll just finish by saying there's world class examples of multiple styles that aren't Imperial Stouts, American IPAs, or "sours" that you can walk into any decent beer-centric liquor store and find in 2015.

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  14. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
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    That's what I would have thought before doing my little research project today, but I'm going to stand behind my original assertion.

    Belgians: the top-rated quads, tripels and dubbels rival hefeweizens on availability, but average cost is significantly higher. Most of the top-rated witbiers are not widely available.

    Germans: most of the top-rated ones are not widely available. The majority of top-rated beers have very few ratings/hads.

    The issue for top-rated beers in the most popular styles (IPA, DIPA's, imperial stouts, sours, etc.) is that the majority - but not all, thankfully - are expensive, not widely distributed, or both (i.e. whales). For less popular styles (pilsners, amber lagers, AAL's, light lagers) the issue is availability. Most of the top-rated beers have very few ratings. For some reason, hefeweizens seem to have found a happy medium where there top-rated beers for the most part are both widely distributed and reasonably priced!
  15. AugustusRex

    AugustusRex Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 Canada (ON)

    As long as the beer is in good condition, many world class examples (not necessarily the best) are readily available. Are rare beers even worth the trouble?

    Saison: Dupont
    Dubbel: Westmalle
    Tripel: Westmalle
    Quad: Rochefort
    BSPA: Duvel
    Flanders Red: Vintage/Grand Cru
    Oude Bruin: Goudenband
    Belgian Pale Ale: Orval

    Czech Pilsner: Urquell
    German Pilsner: Jever
    Rauchbier: Schlenkerla Marzen
    Doppelbock: Celebrator
    Dunkel: Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel
    Helles: Weihenstepaner
    Weizenbock: Aventinus
    Eisbock: Aventinus Eisbock

    English Pale Ale: Landlord
    English Barleywine: J.W. Lees
    Old Ale: Fullers Vintage Ale

    RIS: Ten Fidy
    American IPA: Two Hearted
    APA: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
    American Barleywine: Bigfoot
    Steam Beer: Anchor
    American Porter: Founders

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  16. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
    Society Trader

    That's an awesome list of great beers in many styles that are world-class, affordable, and available. I was just pointing out that the majority of top-rated beers in styles other than hefeweizen do not compare to the overall affordability and availability of the top-rated hefeweizens. Maybe that type of stat isn't interesting to other BA's...but I found it intriguing.


    P.S. I'd like to add one of my favorites to your list - Scotch Ale: Oskar Blues Old Chub. Amazing beer, easy to get, and under $10/six-pack!
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  17. Seanem44

    Seanem44 Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2014 Virginia

    Went Germany this past June... I drank everywhere I went and enjoyed every bit of it. Didn't care the brand, whatever type of Weissbier they had I drank.
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  18. AugustusRex

    AugustusRex Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 Canada (ON)

    I would like to point out that the reason top rated German styles are available in the US, is because this is American site, and only German beers readily available in the USA are rated. So, the phenomenon you are observing is quite artificial.
  19. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (225) Nov 3, 2005 California

    One of the problems in general is that the German/English/Czech beers have fallen out of favor with a lot of drinkers due to the influx of more US craft. Many of my retail customers have now changed selections (speak: shelf space) to be more US-centric at the cost of imports. The compounding problem is that the import beers that were already old (comparatively) are getting older on the shelves.
  20. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
    Society Trader

    I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. Even within German styles, the top-rated beers = available & affordable formula only holds true for hefeweizens ... not for pilsners, dopplebocks, munich helles lagers, dunkelweizens, etc..

    Actually, weizenbocks come pretty close. My original thesis might be in trouble...

  21. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (6,333) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia

    Awesome list!
  22. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (6,333) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia

    That is a great beer!

    Great value!
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  23. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    I've rated over 400 beers and not one of them is a hefeweizen but I am looking to rate one some day.
  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (3,685) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I love a good Bavarian style Hefeweizen or Belgian Wit, but they're the style of beer I can't go-to all the time. The yeast character is too much for my palate as an every day beer.

    Start with a fresh SN Kellerweis -- thank me later. :wink:
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  25. UrbanCaveman

    UrbanCaveman Meyvn (1,130) Sep 30, 2014 Ohio
    Society Trader

    That strikes me as odd - I'm in the southwest corner of Ohio, and could grab at least 4 of the top 6 witbiers off store shelves right now. Possibly 5 of them, if I drive to Kentucky. Perhaps I'm just in an odd witbier confluence, though.

    That being said, allow me to pile on the hefe love! Esters are one of my favorite things, and hefeweizens tend to showcase them in easy-drinking yet flavorful packages.
  26. Brolo75

    Brolo75 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 California

    Kellerweis is the one I am consider first, some day I will.
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  27. jcos

    jcos Aspirant (212) Nov 23, 2009 Maryland

    But but but..whalez bro!


    Drink what you like, Hefeweizens can be awesome!
  28. putonyourwalkingshoes

    putonyourwalkingshoes Devotee (471) Jul 31, 2013 California

    I personally don't care for the title of this thread either. They're okay kind of simplistic but yeah they drink easy.
  29. lewisti

    lewisti Initiate (59) Nov 7, 2001 Connecticut

    Andechs makes a great hefe even though they are known for their doppelbock. I was lucky enough to have a Weihenstephaner Vitus on draft yesterday that was a rare treat
    #29 lewisti, Dec 4, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
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  30. shnsajax

    shnsajax Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Idaho

    Should be bottled very soon though.
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  31. AugustusRex

    AugustusRex Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2013 Canada (ON)

    ?? All these styles you listed have top rated examples that are readily available...
  32. champ103

    champ103 Poo-Bah (5,632) Sep 3, 2007 Texas

    You don't know about Live Oak's...shall we say...nonchalantness :slight_smile: They have said that for over 5 years. It sounds like there is actual progress, but I will believe it when I see it.

    As a side note, RIP Steve Anderson. Live Oak would not be what it is without you.
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  33. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Just don't like Hefes, I've tried but I don't.
  34. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Yes, but MOST of the top-rated beers in those styles are not widely available & affordable.
  35. Lucular

    Lucular Poo-Bah (4,497) Jun 20, 2014 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Hitachino and St. Bernardus are widely available but relatively pricey (compared to most of the top hefes). But that reminds me, I really need to try a St. Bernardus witbier one of these days.
  36. DeweyCheatem-n-Howe

    DeweyCheatem-n-Howe Initiate (0) May 23, 2015 Massachusetts

    I freaking love a good Hefewizen. Weihenstephaner is great, as is any witbier/Hefe from Urban Chestnut. Also Funky Buddha Floridian is really tasty, although I've only had 3 of those.
  37. CheapHysterics

    CheapHysterics Initiate (0) Apr 1, 2009 Pennsylvania

    So many top hefeweizens are affordable because there aren't imperial barrel aged bacon flavored hefes crowding traditional ones out of the top 100. For example, if you scan through the top 100 porters and disregard anything over 7.5% and/or barrel aged you find things like Edmund Fitz, Black Butte, Founders Porter, Anchor Porter, Smuttynose Porter, etc. All are widely distributed and affordable, and would be ranked much higher if they weren't competing against imperial and barrel aged porters.
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  38. GSS

    GSS Initiate (0) Sep 30, 2015 China

    I recently posted about rediscovering Hefe's after a bit of a gap. It is a great style, with Weihenstephaner, Hacker-Pschorr, and Schneider being at the top of my heap. They are also very common and quite cheap where I am in China. I've tried 16 new Hefe's at an average cost of about $2.40/500ml can since arriving in China at the end of August.

    To answer the other question, when I lived in Canada, Pils were readily available and cheap. Urquell could always be found, while several of Warsteiner, Bitburger, Radeberger, and Konig were also usually available. These beers were cheaper than most other drinkable stuff that was available.
  39. Aestro

    Aestro Initiate (0) Nov 29, 2009 Oregon

    These are a little midwestern-centric. I'd put Old Rasputin above Ten Fidy but honestly also flip a coin. Two-Hearted and Founders are both very much regionalized. American IPA is a category that has changed a lot in the past 5-10 years as more hop varieties have come out and trends have come and gone. If I REALLY had to pick one widely available in the entire US, I'd probably go 60-minute or 90-minute. I've also never had Founders Porter on the west coast or in the South. I'd say Black Butte there, but that's West Coast bias.

    Either way, point well taken and I am very much in agreement with the concept of your list. Even the ones I'm being pedantic about are still easily accessible beers.

    And hey! Maybe Portland bias again, but as cool as it is to find Widmer blase, Widmer's Hefe is still a great example of the American take on the style. And still very enjoyable.
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  40. shnsajax

    shnsajax Initiate (0) Jul 2, 2013 Idaho

    I do as I lived in Texas every year except for this one. I know the labels were created and the equipment was purchased so they are actually close. Hopefully not much longer.
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