Is the American Pale Wheat Ale dying?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by johnnybgood1999, Feb 6, 2019.


Have you seen a drop or disappearance of American Pale Wheat Ales

  1. Yes

    29 vote(s)
  2. No

    18 vote(s)
  3. What are American Pale Wheat Ales

    6 vote(s)
  1. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    My first craft beer was Boulevard Wheat. It led me to my next craft beer, which was Old Ruffian Barleywine. I love all styles, but one that was there as an amazingly refreshing option to mix in between heftier ales was a good pale wheat. I had Boulevard, goose Island, lately the wheat Deschutes makes, and a few others between.

    What is the one commonality among them? I don't get them anymore, nor do I have alternatives (barring other similar styles, like a Wit or Hefe) Boulevard, for example, distributes here, but my beer stores say they absolutely cannot order me a case of wheat. I miss these beers tremendously and wonder if any others have seen a precipitous decline in the offerings of the style? Here they are replaced by other styles, obviously.
    Amendm likes this.
  2. zid

    zid Savant (956) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    At this point, I doubt brewers are trying to make a beer like Oberon with hopes of it becoming another Oberon. I would imagine that those roles are already cast. On the other hand, the question can be: “Are there any brewers working on new ‘American wheat ales’ that won’t taste like IPAs?”
  3. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    No doubt. For similar beers it's been let's hop it up for a while in my area.
  4. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (190) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    Please do. American Pale Wheat Ales are disgusting.
    This comes from someone who loves Hefeweizen's, Witbiers, and most other wheat beers.

    But the American Pale Wheat Ale brings everything bad about the different styles without trying to bring anything of it's own to add to the party.

    Boulevards Unfiltered Wheat in particular tastes like pissed on hay.
    My wife first pointed it out and I can't taste anything else and everyone I've pointed it out to has agreed with us (probably only about 5 people granted).

    But in my area I don't think that they are really dying out. Every brewery of course doesn't have one but many new breweries do. Even if they call their beers a hefeweizen or Witbier they aren't fooling me.
  5. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    I've noticed a lot of people feel this way. To my palate it's a very refreshing, lemony and wheat taste that sits well with me. I enjoy Wits and hefes, but I like pale wheats more because the yeast strains get out of the way of the wheat, letting it cut through more.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  6. jakecattleco

    jakecattleco Poo-Bah (1,923) Sep 3, 2008 California
    Premium Trader

  7. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    Yeah but have you ever had NEW ENGLAND style Pissed on Hay?

    Or Double Pissed on Hay?

    But seriously, for me this style has always been more a poor attempt at a Hefe than a good style. Or, as has been stated, another vehicle for hops. See Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin'.
  8. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (553) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    eldoctorador likes this.
  9. Ranbot

    Ranbot Zealot (553) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Agreed. I recognize the American Pale Wheat as a distinct style, but I personally find it to be a very uninteresting style. On the non-hoppy end of the spectrum, I'd rather have a German Hefeweizen. On the hoppy end of the spectrum there's little difference between Pale Ales and IPAs, so what's the point? I think the the problem is the clean tasting American yeasts, which are great for showcasing hops, but when the hops aren't there it's boring compared to the yeast-derived flavors weizens, saisons, or Belgian wits.
  10. Roadkizzle

    Roadkizzle Initiate (190) Nov 6, 2007 Texas

    I know of at least 10 breweries in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that have American Pale Wheat Ales. (Well a couple say hefeweizen but add fruit puree or something like that).

    Then there are probably 3 or 4 more that seem to be trying to do an actual Hefeweizen or Wit but fall so short of the mark that I personally have to consider them American Pale Wheat Ales.

    But there are a couple that are really good. Bankhead Brewing for one. Obviously they won a medal at GABF for their Hefe and I would not have argued when I went there recently.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  11. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,559) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Eh, I've got a few examples of the style that I really enjoying drinking (in the warmer months). Oberon, Thresher from TG (hope they put that in cans), and Gumballhead.

    That being said, if the pale wheat ale is dying, is the dark wheat ale extinct?
  12. BeastOfTheNortheast

    BeastOfTheNortheast Aspirant (298) Dec 26, 2009 Pennsylvania

    A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' is damn tasty!
    NYRunner and puck1225 like this.
  13. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Disciple (322) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont

    I love Chasing Rabbits by BBCO, but..... definitely a hop vehicle.
  14. ecpho

    ecpho Aspirant (235) Mar 28, 2011 New York

    I really enjoy Montauk's Summer Ale which uses some wheat and isn't hopped up. Perfect for warm weather and having a few without overpowering your mouth. There's definitely a place and a market for Oberon types.
  15. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (526) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    Excluding the hop-forward examples like A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' and Fortunate Islands, the only ones I can recall ever having are Oberon and Tröegs Dreamweaver. The latter is categorized as a hefeweizen by the brewery and here, but from what I recall of it (had it once years ago), it was closer to an APWA. I like Oberon and have bought it a few times, but I'd rather just drink a Weihenstephaner hefe for a summer wheat beer fix.
    Amendm likes this.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dreanweaver is indeed a Hefeweizen. It has notable flavors of banana and cloves.

  17. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (526) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    As I said, it was years ago...back when I had a much less refined palate. :laughing::rolling_eyes:
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    You indeed did.

    Just wanted to set the record straight both for you and others.

    SudsDoctor likes this.
  19. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    I see them as completely different from and not an attempt at a hefe. They seem to be meant to be a bit cleaner, lighter, and crisper. The wheat seems more in your face. Personally, I consider the hoppier examples to be a different style. For example, if New Belgium takes their Trippel and hops it up to IPA level to match the body and ABV, is it still in the appropriate style category?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  20. Amendm

    Amendm Devotee (429) Jun 7, 2018 Rhode Island

    I voted Yes per the question however I do not think the style is "dying" per the OPs title.
    Belgian Witbier and German Hefeweizen are much more popular and hard to compete with.
    Good luck finding Dark Wheat Ales.
    tmalt likes this.
  21. RobNewton

    RobNewton Zealot (587) Dec 30, 2014 New York
    Premium Trader

    isn't new england ipa just hopped up pale wheat ale?

    edit: to avoid arguments as per whether or not hops can be associated with the style, from BA:

    Higher carbonation is proper as is a long-lasting head and a light to medium body. German Weizen flavors and aromas of banana esters and clove-like phenols won't be found. Most use a substantial percentage of wheat malt. Hop character could be low or fairly high, but most examples are moderate in bitterness. There may be some fruitiness from ale fermentation though most examples use a fairly neutral ale yeast, resulting in a clean fermentation with little to no diacetyl.
    MHorridge likes this.
  22. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    While I agree, and certainly there can be some decent ones out there, I think most are simply half assed attempts at making (marketing?) something that’s like a Hefeweizen without actually brewing one.
    johnnybgood1999 likes this.
  23. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,274) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Easy street wheat seems to be alive and strong.
  24. eldoctorador

    eldoctorador Zealot (571) Dec 12, 2014 California

    Sam Adams Summer Ale and Bell's Oberon sell pretty well at least
  25. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    I wouldn't argue hops can be associated with the style, but how much? What does fairly high mean before you start getting to an IPA like beer?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  26. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    It's also hard to compare from different regions. Some areas may have generally bad examples, while other areas might have better selections.
    SFACRKnight and AlcahueteJ like this.
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Sumpin'?
    RobNewton and SFACRKnight like this.
  28. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (225) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    Modern Times Fortunate Islands is very hop forward and they’ve rebranded it as a Pale Ale. I don’t think they’ve changed the recipe at all and wheat is still included in the malt bill, but they don’t bring any attention to it in the description.
  29. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (327) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    That's one that came to mind.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  30. rtrasr

    rtrasr Disciple (303) Feb 16, 2009 Arkansas

    My nominee for Flagship February is Boulevard Wheat.
  31. NYRunner

    NYRunner Initiate (38) Nov 5, 2018 New York

    Sam Summer was one of my “gateway” beers when I was discovering craft, and I will drink it fondly, always.
    eldoctorador likes this.
  32. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (883) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    A good dryish wheat ale is nice to find. Oberon was always good for another. Hey, these are drinking beers, not thinking beers.....Time and place for everything.
    ecpho and surfcaster like this.
  33. CB_Michigan

    CB_Michigan Initiate (140) Sep 4, 2014 Illinois

    I love Oberon. Had my first over 20 years ago and It's been a summer staple practically the entire time (spent a couple years outside their distro). Boulevard Wheat is decent, but I just don't get the same enjoyment from it. I've had some locals on draft that are decent, but would be nice to mix things up a bit this summer, though it seems like this style is being pushed off the shelves by an endless expansion of IPAs.

    Gumballhead has something that I must be overly sensitive to in it. I've tried it here and there, and each time I'm just hit in the face with some pungent "stinky feet" aroma. It's just completely overwhelming and covers absolutely everything in unpleasantness.
    FBarber likes this.
  34. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Meyvn (1,235) Jul 27, 2013 California
    Premium Trader

    You’re right...I didn’t notice the rebrand. Modern Times doesn’t even mention wheat in the description on their website:

    “Fortunate Islands combines the bangin' hop aroma of an über-tropical IPA with the crisp, deeply quenching drinkability of a killer pale ale. We achieve this magical result by starting with a mild, nutty malt backbone, then dry-hopping the bejesus out of it with Citra and Amarillo hops. Restrained bitterness and vibrant notes of mango, tangerine, and passionfruit combine to form a sessionable crusher of mind-bending proportions. It tastes like wizards.”
  35. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Champion (883) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Can't say I've ever been inclined to "taste a wizard".
    Ranbot and FBarber like this.
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,813) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It would appear that the Bud Light King thinks differently?:thinking_face:

    "But if something did happen we'd eat the wizard first, right?"

    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  37. JimKal

    JimKal Devotee (474) Jul 31, 2011 North Carolina

    The new SA New England Pale Ale seems, to me, to be a sort of hoppy wheat ale really unlike most other pale ales.