Authentic German wheat beers (hefeweizens) are among my favorite styles of beer and many beer enthusiasts and critics would say the same. Even though they conform to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, beers of this style tend to be extremely robust and complex and yet highly drinkable and land on "Best of" lists all the time.
However, to use an analogy my friend Henry coined - even Ivy League schools still have C students and Erdinger Hefe-Weizen is the beer equivalent of that.
I poured a 500ml bottle into a 20oz wheat beer glass.
Appearance: Surprisingly bright banana-yellow hue. Body is crystal-clear until the yeast is added (most hefeweizens tend to be at least a little cloudy at first). It forms a huge, bright white, soapy head which fizzles away like a soda leaving no lacing on the glass at all. This is also unusual, as most other hef’s heads tend to be frothy and dirty up the glass with lacing all the way down.
Smell: I was actually shocked to detect a noticeable skunky aroma at first, but it seemed to diminish after only a few swigs. This could be due to the fact the bottle is a very light shade of brown - almost olive green, in fact. There’s a slight floral and lemon scent which is pleasing, but not strong enough to overpower the skunk.
Taste: While the appearance and aroma were not what I would consider favorable, my first swig of Erdinger Hefe-Weizen helped me remember why I love beers of this style. The initial taste of the foamy head and the top of the palate was sweet, almost creamy, and definitely refreshing. Lemon is the most noticeable flavor here, which, combined with the head, is sweeter than usual and makes for a lemon meringue pie taste.
Unfortunately, I judge beer on its entire performance, not just first impressions, and this beer begins to run out of steam quickly. Once the head dissipates the creamy texture and taste is lost and a palate of generic spice begins to take hold. It’s more of an allspice and pepper flavor with even a lager-like grainy effect. The sourness from the smell begins to make itself known in the palate and gives it a bit of tang. The lemon flavor still hangs in there, keeping this beer from tilting the scales from good to bad, but hangs right on the fulcrum of average.
Drinkability: Although there are definite flaws to this beer, it at least functions as the bare minimum of a refreshing wheat beer. Mouthfeel is on the lower end of medium with some crispness at first and tepid thinness later on it. Some spices dance on the tongue and linger, but are expected from this style.
Overall, a disappointing beer considering the brewery and country of origin. I have to call it like I see it and while this beer isn’t truly bad, it’s nothing more than average.