Not my Hoppy Weisse – Schneider Weisse: Tap 5 (Meine Hopfenweisse)

20160619_180429

Now that we’ve apparently voted to leave Europe, let’s take a look at a European beer…

I mean, no matter what we do in England, the Germans will still keep making beer and hopefully we’ll still be able to get hold of it and drink it.

I am refusing to wax lyrical on the decision to leave.  This is about beer and not about politics.

For context, a few hours before the decision to leave became clear, I found out that my boss and the boss above them had had their positions “eliminated” (my overlords in the US don’t tend to mince their words with soft-soap-shit like: “pursuing other opportunities” or “spending more time with their family”) so as you can imagine, my mind was elsewhere for most of the night – when it really should have been asleep.

I actually drank this beer in response the “elimination” news – not at all by way of celebration, but more because nobody likes to be eliminated and nobody likes to find themselves adrift and managerless at 7pm on a weekday evening…although as I now write this I have a new manager now who seems to be a decent enough sort – which is some relief.

So Schneider Weisse Tap 5 – a wheat beer that’s been generously late-hopped with US craft varieties.?  That should have been of comfort to me, shouldn’t it?

Umm, no.  Not at all, in fact…

Tap 5 is quite a “dirty-looking” wheat, but not in the “has come-to-bed-eyes” sort of way, more of a reflection on the amount of yeast sediment in the bottle, and yes I know it’s a hefeweissen, mit hefe, but it’s a bit too much mit hefe for my liking.

The aroma is well, boozy.  I mean strongly boozy, and that’s because it’s 8.2%!   Jeez that’s just too much in a wheat.  It’s also strongly phenolic – which totally drowns out any of the hopping.

I just didn’t like the smell.  There, I’ve said it.

The taste is gigantic; but unfortunately it’s really cloyingly over-malty with lashings and lashings of booze. There’s some over-ripe bananas and a bit of wheaty-graininess but it’s not enjoyable.

The hops don’t do much, either – save from adding to the syrupy over-blown boozy morass.

I really, really wanted to like this beer but I couldn’t. It’s been on my list of beers to try for years now and I’m still finding it difficult to find words to express my disappointment.

It should have been far lighter on it’s feet (about 5% ABV) which would make for a delicate and refreshing wheatiness that the late hops could dance upon – that’d be a more bananas and creme-anglais with orange and lemon coulis sort-of-thing…

…rather than a dollop of mashed brown bananas soused with brandy and half a Seville orange rammed up your jacksie.

God, I hate having to writing about beer in this way:

http://www.schneider-weisse.de/index.php?lang=en&tpl=brauerei.spezialitaeten.hopfen:

It kindled my flame – Berliner Kindl Weiss (from @beersofeurope)

20160615_194535

Rarely have I opened a bottle of beer with such trepidation.

Berliner Weisse in its native form is a rare old beast…that’s not to say that the craft brigade haven’t embraced the style as their own, in fact there’s quite a lot of Berliner Weisse tributes knocking about the place.

But I wanted the real thing…

I’ve read about, I’ve looked at recipes for it and I’ve often thought about making it…I just never had the chance to try an example of the Berliner Weisse style.

Until now.

I found that those lovely people at Beers of Europe (http://www.beersofeurope.co.uk/beers) stock a Berliner Kindl Weisse, so along with a happy batch of other bits and bobs, I received my coveted bottle of Berliner.

To make a Berliner Weisse you need the help of our old pal Lactobacillus (the bacteria responsible for the tanginess of yoghurts, etc.)  Lactobacillus drops the PH of the finished beer sufficiently to give a bracing yet refreshing tartness; this increase in acidity with a standard brewers’ yeast fermentation helps to create a unique and exciting flavour profile.

There’s obviously a lot more to the process – including the potential for a no-boil (!) wort-making step, but we’ll leave that for the day that I get around to making my own version.

So how’s it taste?  Well…

It’s a bright straw yellow, with a smallish snow-white head.  Maybe there’s a faint haziness about it, but if there is it’s unremarkable.

There’s a more-than vigorous carbonation, which certainly adds a pizazz to proceedings – small wonder that Napoleons troops called it The Champagne of the North when they first came across it.

The aroma is pretty much devoid of maltiness – OK there’s some sweetness there somewhere – but it’s mainly tart and juicy green apples with  over-ripe pear notes and a faint “sherbertiness.”

In the mouth it’s foamy and lively, coquettishly flirty and tartly refreshing.  The acidity from the lacto fermentation is proper mouth-puckeringly good and there’s an assertive lemoniness with a thin, reedy, maltiness.

There’s no escaping the acidity, and I can guarantee that you won’t have had beer like this before; the front of my tongue sang with it’s refreshing sharpness.

The Germans like to add some fruit syrup to theirs to make it more drinkable – but I didn’t bother because a) I knew it’d probably get up their noses a bit if I had it without and b) I like my Berliner Weisse sharp.

Get some today and lively up yourself (as they might say in Jamaica)

http://www.berliner-kindl.de/Produkte/Berliner-Kindl-Weisse

Don’t know if it needs the hops, really… @vedett: Extra IPA

20160614_122756

Vedett.  It’s just one of those beer brands that I saw all over the place, but never really get around to trying, mainly because the label – while being a la mode and all that – is not exactly eye-catching on a shelf amongst a load of other beers.

I overlooked Vedett for years, only being forced to buy it from a small provincial Co-op when faced with a very dismal “brown beer” selection.

As it turns out, the standard Vedett version is a very acceptable Belgian Blonde beer indeed.

So when Eve and I went to The Unicorn in Deddington for lunch last week – only to find that it’s a Youngs/Wells outfit* I was happy to take the alternative Vedett IPA option.

(*it’s not that I don’t like the Youngs/wells beers, I just find them a bit uninspiring )

BTW: Lunch at The Unicorn was bloody excellent.  I mean really good.  We will be going there again.

But a Vedett IPA?  I mean a Belgian beer with a load of late hops?  How’s that going to work?

I’d had heavily-hopped Belgian beer before: Flying Dog’s Raging Bitch being one (https://yeastismybitch.com/2014/01/10/flying-dog-raging-bitch/) so I was hopeful that Vedett IPA would be an interesting variant on that theme…

Vedett IPA pours a golden colour and has the aroma of a typical blonde Belgian beer, you know: sweetly malty with a phenolic overtone and that slight spicy edge – only this time with a bouquet of floral hops festooning the top.

In the taste it’s a bit like Raging Bitch, but just not as mental; there’s all the usual Belgian taradiddle but a more of a fruity core plus a nice floral hop topping.  The finish is long and dry and worked well with food.

All in all, it’s tasty and satisfying – but I’m still not completely sure that late-hopping of an already decent Belgian yeast flavour  enhances the standard Vedett beer much.

In fact, I can’t really say that I’ve yet found one late-hopped Belgian that I’m completely over the moon with.

Maybe it’s just me…maybe I haven’t tried enough – after all there’s still La Chouffe with late hops, Duvel Tripel Hop and loads of others out there…

Give Vedett IPA a whirl, it’s dependable, tasty, well-made and you may well end up loving it…

http://vedett.com/luscious-liquids/ipa/

Can you feel the Magic? @Winerackonline @MagicRockBrewCo Cannonball and Salty Kiss

Can you imagine my unconfined joy when a colleague at work informed me that the local garden centre had a new concession shop that sold beer?  Not just any old beer mind, but several hundred different sorts of GOOD beer.

He sent me pictures too – of burgeoning shelves with Belgians and Lambics, and US craft IPAs and Wheats, oh and everything.

So I finished work a few minutes early that day and drove the five minutes (five minutes!) to Yarnton Nurseries.

Avoiding all of the other garden centrey guff they have there (pretty much none of it to do with gardening), I headed straight to the Wine Rack “shop” contained within (http://www.winerack.co.uk/yarnton)

Giddy with excitement, I reeled around:  Brewdog “Sink the Bismarck” at £53 a bottle!  Boon Gueze!  Weihenstephan Wheats! (A couple of varieties) and all sorts of other exotic stuff – plus loads and loads of good-looking English beers…

Wine Rack had a good selection of Magic Rock beers, so I took the liberty of buying a couple of cans.  God knows I’ve enjoyed Magic Rock’s beer in the past (https://yeastismybitch.com/2013/11/07/magic-rock-dark-arts/) so I knew I was probably in for a treat…

Cannonball IPA

20160610_201857

An attractive-looking helping of beer, it was hazy and cut-cornfield straw-coloured.  A nice little head hung about prettily, the aroma was hoppy and, how can I say this?  “nicely-meshed”, yes that’s it: all the hops were delicately and expertly matched and woven together.

A tight and solid aroma profile; nothing poked out at weird angles, it wasn’t too piney, and not too resiny either.  Lovely.

The carbonation was pleasant and appropriate, and the taste was big, hoppy and dangerously drinkable.  A light but firm bitterness came after with some ethereal long-lasting citrus.

At the swallow a prickly, prickly, bitterness paired up with the hops and just DANCED on the tongue.Bloody bloody excellent.

Buy it on sight.

See it here: http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/beer/cannonball/

Salty Kiss Gooseberry Gose

20160610_175626

This is my first experience of the Gose style, traditionally made with a water profile that is ever so slightly salty, Gose is one of those trendy styles that probably aren’t made that much where they originate from, but the new-wave of craft brewers have taken it to their bosom as one of their own.

Worried about a salty beer?  Don’t be.  It’s divine.  And if you need proof get a glass of room temperature water and grind a little black pepper into it.  Mix well and taste.  Doesn’t taste of much does it?  Now add a small pinch of salt and stir again.  Then taste.  That’s the difference…

Salty Kiss was was a lighter straw colour than the Cannonball, with an aroma profile that’s almost lagery-malty – so I’d imagine that there’s pilsener malt in there*.  Not a lot of hops in the nose, but that’s not what we’re after.

The taste is a revelation:  light and floaty with a delicate, delicate, tartness.  The salt is like the brine on your lips on a windy winters’ day at the beach.

This beer is refreshing and the gooseberries and white summer-fruit theme appears half-way through – like Victorian phantasmagoria.

Truly delightful.  If you’ve never tried it, you must…

See it here: http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/beer/salty-kiss/

(* I looked and there isn’t!)

Wine Rack:

Well worth a look.  I’ve been looking in the Yarnton outlet after work every Friday since I found it.  They even let you taste the odd thing too.  Fancy that!

http://www.winerack.co.uk/yarnton