Sunday, June 21, 2009

Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse Ale (TAP5)


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - APR 18, 2010
As a comic book geek I’m a big fan of inter-company crossovers, and I’ve always longed to see the beer equivalent of this. Well, it’s finally happened thanks to the German brewery G. Schneider & Sohn teaming up with New York’s own Brooklyn Brewery to create the “Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse.”

There’s a long story behind this team up, but basically the brewmasters of each brewery were fans of each other and decided to swap jobs to create two takes on the same beer. This particular beer is brewed in Germany using local hops as overseen by Garret Oliver of Brooklyn. The result is a very tasty, easy-to-drink beer that anyone would likely enjoy.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was an India Pale Ale from the complexion alone. It’s a shade of bright orange which is darker at the top than it is at the bottom. I swirled up the 500ml bottle to homogenize any sediment at the bottom, but I didn’t notice any in my glass. Not that the liquid is clear by any means, since it’s extremely murky.

The head was a bit smaller than I anticipated, resembling something closer to a barley-based beer which was white, foamy, and creamy. It dissolved rather quickly and left almost no lacing on the glass, surprisingly.

The aroma was very citrusy with lemon being the predominant ingredient. I did detect some spicy components [i.e. clove, nutmeg], but they were rather mild. Regardless, the smell was very inviting like a glass of freshly-squeezed juice.

TASTE

Just to set the record straight, Hopfen Weisse is actually a weizenbock, which is a form of a hefeweizen. It’s a wheat beer to be sure, but quite different due to its potency as well as its spicy kick.

Upon my first swig of this beer I detected a very crisp, citrusy palate followed by a slightly dry, spicy backend. Lemon was very prominent, but it didn’t overwhelm the rest of the palate. In fact, it’s difficult to describe the taste here since it’s quite different from most beers I’ve drank.

I would describe the initial mouthfeel as juicy, sweet, and overall delectable, followed by a distinct different finish which is spicy, slightly dry, but rather clean as there is next to not aftertaste at all. Overall, it adds up to a very original and appealing flavor. Its uniqueness is tasty enough to satisfy but without the intensity of an overwhelming beer.

FINISH

Whether you’re a wheat beer fan or not, we can all agree that beers of this type are traditionally easier on the palate than most ales and lagers. Hopfen Weisse has a thick, soft, almost chewy mouthfeel. The flavor is indeed potent with spices, but they do not scare away the drinker. The end result is a very drinker-friendly, smooth beer that’s so tasty and so easy to drink it’s difficult to savor it in sips rather than gulps.

BODY

If you’ve been following my beer reviews with any consistency you know I’m not a big fan of imperial or potent beers mostly due to the fact the alcohol tends to upstage the flavor. However, in the case of Hopfen Weisse, this is a beer so tasty and light in the mouth that the alcohol content seems virtually non-existent. For a beer with an 8.2% ABV, I did not taste or notice the potency until long after I had finished an entire 500ml liter bottle. This is certainly forgivable considering that this is a weizenbock after all, and this beer deserves accolades for masking its potency so well.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While I might not consider Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen Weisse one of my personal favorite beers of all time, I still have to admit it one of the most novel brews I’ve even encountered. The price is a bit steep at $5 per bottle (a penny per milliliter), but in the end it’s definitely worth it. One of the few beers I would consider a “Must-drink!”

Grade: 9/10