Well, that is a bit of a surprise! Apparently this is the first wheat beer that I have reviewed, I could have sworn I'd done others. No matter, if that is the case that is the case. A warm day with humidity and the sort of heat that made doing garden stuff an actual chore rather than something of a pleasure. Still, got most of the weeding done and watered the plants (and a bit of the lawn so badly mauled by my buying of a mower). All of that and we managed a trip to our local IKEA because we know how to live, we do!
In any case, tonight I shall be drinking Hefeweizen: a wheat beer from Germany brewed by Altenmunster and that has sat in the pantry for almost six months awaiting consumption. And thus I make it sound more like a heroine from Austen. Ah well, the point is that I feel like I have done some actual labour towards and ale rather than just my usual labouring and am actually looking forward to it.
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It had been chilled for the day, so as to avoid the heat and to make it palatable. Originally I was planning a sit in the garden but a combination of higher winds, the Boy getting stuck on his tablet and bedtimes meant that it is now much later than when I had thought that a good idea. The sun has gone down, the air is a bit cooler and, well, I can't be bothered going outside. At first it wouldn't pop open, it took a bit of levering to get the cork to leave the bottle and then there was an almighty explosion but not a lot of following action. I suspect that being stored where it was in the heat of the summer had allowed it to build up quite a head of carbonation and I do remember having this about a year ago and being singularly unimpressed with it due to the over carbonation, so there may be something in that. A lack of head on the pour suggests that the chilling did the job of calming this back down but a strong smell of yeast and lemon on the nose might mean that I have killed it or may herald a completely different style of beer than the ones that I have been having recently.
Sweet and almost creamy on the tongue, with the sort of flavour that I wouldn't ordinarily associate with ale. This is not my usual bitter and nor does it have the usual quality of bottled ale. There's a sensation of something that I can't quite place - I want to say marshmallow but that's not what I mean - tickling the back of my mind rather than the sides of my mouth. Hard to say what else is going on, there's a definite yeasty sensation carried by the carbonation, moreso than usual, and then there's a great gaping stretch in the middle that ordinarily would be the roll over of the hops into the malt vessel but here's there's sort of... nothing. I mean, it's not thin or missing or even a bad thing, but it is just... not there. By the time you get to the back of the throat there's just that odd cream quality to it and a sort of moist wheat-iness hanging around that, while not unpleasant, isn't what I usually associate with a glass of ale. That said, I suspect it does work well as an outdoor ale and at the end of a day. There's enough of the heat of the day left in the living room that it does set the ale up nicely so perhaps that is what this all about.
I tend to view this, by dint of nothing more than the fact it was on sale next to it in the supermarket, as the sister ale to Das Helle (which you can find by clicking here) and that is perhaps a little unfair to both of the ales concerned. I really enjoy Das Helle and tend to rate it quite highly as a proper summer ale to be had, well, jeden tag. This ale is nice, certainly, but I tend to get it in because it's still cheaper to buy the stopper bottle with the ale inside than it is to buy just the bottles with the stoppers in (which must be wrong somehow). I mean, I'm not complaining, this is clearly a nice ale to be drunk on an evening, but it just doesn't 'do it' for me the same way as does, say, Franziskaner Weissbier or anything Belgian.
Enjoy best listening to a brass band in the bandstand on a summer's day in the shade. Ensure you have your sandwiches in a cool box, tea in a thermos and a wind break to set into the grass. Bring your own garden chairs to sit in, listen to the mournful tuba playing its role and toast the sunlight through the leaves above with a pint of this, ensuring that you open it at a loud crescendo rather than a piano moment. then take it slowly, accompany with meat in buttered bread and a scotch egg and just enjoy the moment.