Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hop Hound Amber Wheat

Turbid amber color, nice head of creamy foam, bread-fresh aroma with a lightly citrus character to it. Tangy, refreshing, medium body, a real cut to it, spicy/lemony flavor and, long after the beer last moves down the throat, a bitter pull in the back of the throat.

If this were any other kind of beer than an American wheat, I'd cry foul on naming it Hop Hound. Because folks: it ain't that hoppy. But for what is widely, sadly, called "hefeweizen" in the U.S. (particularly in the West, something they just gotta answer for), this is, indeed, on the hoppy end of the scale. Kinda brings back memories of Wild Goose Spring Wheat, although that had a whole different mouthfeel to it, thanks to the English ale brewing.

So... yeah, it's the new Michelob spring seasonal. At 5.3% ABV. And it's really got yeast in there (although the neck label only refers to it as "what's left," and while it's technically not all yeast...it's pretty much yeast), quite a bit of it. The dog thing seems goofy. But it's not a bad beer at all for the category.
Get your flaying knives out: I liked another ABIB product. Damn me, I hate me when I do that. FWIW, I did see a sixpack of Wild Blue last week (in Philly, during Philly Beer Week!) and I still hate that syrupy shit, so there you go.

16 comments:

Steven said...

Liked? Or just sort of tolerated?

Um. You sure that's all yeast? ;-)

Lew Bryson said...

Well, you know how I feel about these "hefes." "Tolerated" might be a better word. As for the stuff in the liquid, it acted like yeast, tasted like yeast...yeah.

TC said...

I'm curious... are there ANY American made hefeweizens that compare to Paulaner, Spaten, et al? I don't think Victory makes one, and they're usually my go to brewery for German style beers. My fiance and I fell deeply in love one summer with Paulaner's in the 16.9oz bottles (which is, for reasons unknown, measurably better than the 12oz), and I'd love to find any American beer that approaches that kind of pleasant summer sippin'.

Lew Bryson said...

Oh, I'd definitely put Victory's Sunrise Wheat in that category. Stoudt's, Penn (we hope), Summit, Sly Fox (in cans, yet), and that's just off the top of my head, I know I'm missing some. All Bavarian in type, and mighty nice stuff.

sam k said...

The Penn Weizen will truly be missed. The very best of the American versions I've experienced.

Lew Bryson said...

Don't count Penn out yet, Sam. Hearing some good news that I need to confirm. Keep your fingers crossed.

Bob Batz Jr. said...

How we miss Wild Goose Spring Wheat.

Say, Mr. Bryson, we posted a Hofbrauhaus story, brewer sidebar and video today at post-gazette.com/food.

Steven said...

"I'm curious... are there ANY American made hefeweizens that compare to Paulaner, Spaten, et al?"

Adding a vote for Sprecher and Gordon Biersch (look for Trader Joe's label if there's no GB near you), and let's not forget -- Sierra Nevada has a new Bavarian style coming out this year!

TC said...

Lew--haven't had Sunrise (yet), nor Penn or Summit. Stoudt's has a sort of weird, plasticky aftertaste (as does their otherwise excellent Marzen), but you're dead right about Sly Fox. An outstanding beer.

Steven--I'm not big on Sprecher's hefeweizen, though I've only had it once. As for GB at Trader Joes... well, Trader Joe's can't sell beer over in my parts.

Lew Bryson said...

Haven't had Stoudt's in about a year, but I like it quite a bit. There IS variety in the yeast character, and that goes to personal preference, of course. Looking forward to the Sierra.

Matt said...

Better even than Victory's Sunrise is their Mad King's Weiss.

Anonymous said...

The Penn weizen is truly a thing of beauty, I would also cast my vote fdor it being the best American version I've had. I would also throw Troegs Dream Weaver into the mix, it's pretty darn tasty as well. And, while his beers are quite traditional, it is made in America, so I'll also name One Guy Brewing Co. hefe as one of the best made in Am. hefe's I've had. If you haven't had the opportunity to get up to Berwick and try Guy's stuff, you're missing out.

Steven said...

"Steven--I'm not big on Sprecher's hefeweizen, though I've only had it once."

You owe it a second try, and be sure it's fresh -- Randy doesn't pasteurize. It's up there with the best.

Glenn said...

"I'm curious... are there ANY American made hefeweizens that compare to Paulaner, Spaten, et al?"

If I'm drinking a national brand, I'm kind of partial to the one from Shiner (Spoetzl brewery?). One of our NC brewers (Foothills) does a really nice one also (Hurricane Hefe)

Tongo Rad said...

When it's 'on' Ramstein Blonde is as good as it gets. Unfortunately their distributor leaves a lot to be desired (I've spoken to retailers here in Northern NJ, not too far from the brewery, that will get shipped out-of-date cases; some won't even carry the brand any more because of that fact.) Still, it's a great beer, and has even made my German friends do a double-take.

WVbeergeek said...

This was out last year as Sun Dog Amber Wheat, check it out...

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/29/40831

I guarntee they got burnt by their own game due to the fact that New Holland makes Sundog Amber Ale, cease and desist boo-yah!!!

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/335/6343