Wednesday, October 1, 2003

For big flavor, try wheat brew

Sips: Beer

By Ed Westemeier
Enquirer contributor

Last month, I made my first visit to Herbstfest, a festival almost identical to Munich's Oktoberfest, but on a smaller scale. I highly recommend it if you're ever in the Bavarian town of Erding, near Munich, in early September.

One thing that took me by surprise was the popularity of dark wheat beers. Upon my return, I was pleased to find a new import on some local shelves - Hacker-Pschorr Weisse Dark ($9 per six-pack).

The beer offers many things that American beer-lovers enjoy. A big, fluffy tan head atop a dark, copper-colored beer makes a stunning presentation in a tall glass. As is traditional, there is yeast sediment in the bottle, so pour carefully for a clear beer, or swirl the bottle for a cloudy appearance.

It combines the spicy, thirst-quenching character of a wheat beer with a caramel or toffee sweet malty taste. Neither the spiciness nor the sweetness is strong.

The aroma tends more toward the clove than the banana, if you're comparing it to other wheat beers. It's a bit stronger than the average beer, further enhancing the flavor profile.

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