4AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 18/20
Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen Weisse is a weizenbock brewed as a collaboration between the Brooklyn Brewery of New York and J. Schneider & Sohn of Germany (specifically, their brewmaster Hans-Peter Drexler). Even though this version was made in America, its German roots shine through with a robust, spicy palate and heavy body. This isn’t an easy-drinking hefeweizen; it’s a wheat beer for the most discriminating of tastes.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
Hopfen Weisse pours to a very hazy shade of dark gold/light orange as if it were butterscotch syrup. It’s translucent with some carbonation apparent and the yeast, when added from the bottom of the bottle, gives a lava lamp effect. The beer produces a think collar of bright white, fluffy, marshmallow-like head. It is extremely slow to dissolve and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is rather potent with notes of citrus and some spice and touch of banana. The yeast is also prominent giving the beer a slightly dry scent. Alcohol is also noticeable as well.
One of the reasons I like wheat beers is due to their refreshing palate. Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen Weisse is quite the opposite since it’s so complex and intense that it’s closer to a sipping beer. Immediately I received a strong flavor of pineapple and alcohol. It was followed by a mélange of spices and a sweet banana-like finish.
I really enjoyed the taste as I noticed a continually-evolving palate. The hops provided for bitterness while the yeast and malts combined for a creamy, caramel-like palate and soft mouthfeel. I really enjoyed the rich flavor, which was indeed intense but nothing I would honestly consider sweet. There is a spiciness which cannot be ignored and it’s what separates the beer from your more pedestrian hefeweizen. But by the same token it’s a very acquired taste to really enjoy and appreciate.
Wheat beers are usually known for their light and sometimes watery body, but Hopfen Weisse is much the opposite. The mouthfeel is thick and heavy and has a creamy texture to it. It’s soft on the palate and finishes extremely smooth, but the yeast leaves a dry, bitter aftertaste. This is one of those beers that are great to drink, but the aftertaste doesn’t compliment the beer’s character as well.
Since this beer is heavy in the mouth it’s also heavy in body. At 8.5% ABV, Hopfen Weisse is indeed a sipping beer rather than the “lawnmower beers” many wheat brews are known for. The alcohol is prominent in the palate, but the beer does not go to your head. However, I did feel very full after drinking just one glass of it. Since this only comes in a 750ml bottle, I’d highly recommending splitting it with someone who will appreciate it.
I was actually surprised the Brooklyner-Schneider version of the Hopfen Weisse was so complex, rich and robust. I assumed it would have been a bit more pedestrian, so this brew caught me by surprise.