New Barbed Wire Imperial Hefeweizen from Pyramid Brewing Co. is unconventional in a conventional sort of way
I like the whole premise of this new Ignition series from Pyramid Brewing Co. Yeah, it’s gimmicky, yeah, it’s marketing, but it’s also boundary pushing and conversational, so we’ll go with it.
I haven’t had one of these bad boys yet, but I’ll be inquiring down at Worden’s to see if they can get some in. I’ll let you know when and if that happens.
Here is what Pyramid says about the new series:
The Ignition series is a lineup of unconventional brews that set out to ignite conversation and satisfy the discerning palates of those looking for more beer in their beer. Consisting of three distinct styles featuring bold and complex flavor profiles the Series offers beer enthusiasts a challenging new tier to explore Pyramid’s year round and seasonal offerings.
In their latest single barrel release, Glacier Brewing Co. is giving a little sunshine back to Western Montana.
Beer buddy Josh Quick popped into the office this morning to tell me he’d tried a new hefeweizen at the Old Post Pub last night.
“I’m not really a big fan of hefes,” he told me, before he expounded upon the virtues of this particular find.
I hear that first phrase a lot actually. Dedicated craft beer enthusiasts seem generally so, so when it comes to that oh, so German of beers.
And it’s no wonder really. Most American-style hefeweizens are so plain that you actually have to add a slice of lemon or orange to get some of that zest and fruitiness found naturally in a real German hefe.
The truth is that German hefes tend to be heavy on the haze, which is from the tiny particulates of leftover wheat proteins and yeast suspended in the wonderfully unfiltered, orangy liquid. Traditional German yeast strains are known for their bubble-gummy, fruity or medicinal clove-like spiciness. Many traditional beers display both of these characteristics.
A few weeks ago I enjoyed a Schneider-Weisse, one of a few real German hefes imported to the U.S. This particular beer came from Liquid Planet. After talking with beer buddy Josh about it, the memory of that recently enjoyed beer came back to me, and now I’m recommending it to you as a way to overcome what may be a prejudice against weissbier mit hefe.
By the way, not all American hefes are American style. There are many breweries using traditional German yeasts. Some of my Montana favorites are the hefe from Quarry Brewing Co. in Butte, and of course Jurgen’s hefe at Bayern Brewing. Doesn’t get much more German than that here in the Rockies.
Finally got to have a beer in the Fankfurt airport. It was 8 a.m., but I figured it was noon somewhere. This hefeweizen was refreshing after two weeks in India. Sort of washed the curry taste out of things.
I wish I could’ve found an IPA in India, but it will have to remain a challenge for next trip. I’ll be going to Goa, a region where drinking is not nearly as frowned upon as in other parts.
Always on the lookout for something new and unique, I stumbled on Haand Bryggeriet’s Dark Force, Imperial Double Wheat Stout at The Good Food Store. The name sounds impressive, and perhaps a little too much so. But no, this beer lives up to most of its name.Using a wheat and lots of dark roasted malts as well as the brewery’s house wheat yeast, the beer is light on body but little else. At 9 percent ABV and with 65 IBUs, this beer holds up so well to sweet desserts, like the chocolate and caramel crepes my wife and I enjoyed it with.Norwegians have had a long tradition of brewing, but craft breweries are brand new in that country. Haand Bryggeriet is not content to be a small local craft brewery though. There beers often are explorations of regional brews from Belgium, Germany and other famous beer regions. And Dark Force is an example of their willingness to explore new styles.Prost,GG
We all know things are changing rapidly out there. People are brewing 4,000-year-old Chinese beer recipes and putting lychee fruit in beer for cryin’ out loud. Because the beer world is changing as rapidly as the regular world, I feel as though I must adapt. I already do a lot of video on this site, but it’s always been meant to augment print coverage. I am a writer after all. But that is all changing. Video is the new E-mail, the new medium through which we connect. We don’t just sit behind a computer screen and type our clever screen name anymore, we post videos on YouTube, Facebook, Myspace and on and on. So, in light of this, I’m starting a new feature that may just become the blog some day. I’ll be posting a video of my ugly mug talking to you about beer at least once a week to start. The idea is that you’ll watch this, come up with some clever retort and post a response video. In this way, we can have a very informed and active conversation about beer face to face. OK, so it won’t be real time. Who cars, it’ll be funny at least.
Forgive the low audio on this first post. I was playing around with a new microphone, and I never did get the levels on right. So without further ado, here’s the new format:
It’s hard to type right now. I’ve got a callous on my thumb the size of a small hill. Last week I decided to buy my son Guitar Hero III. Then I got hooked on it.
So instead of sitting around watching television and sipping on a cool beer in the evenings, I’ve been slamming a Les Paul to the likes of Metallica, Guns & Roses and CCR.
I used to play air guitar with a plywood cut out when I was a kid. This plastic one with multicolored buttons is almost too close to the real thing. But it’s so much fun.
And, like when I played in a band in my early 20s, beer makes playing guitar better. In my case, it was the bass (corrected for the nice person who was kind enough to leave such a great comment), and I was Geddy Lee.
For the last session of Guitar Hero III, I grabbed an Imperial Weizen that I picked up at the Good Food Store. At 8.3 percent, this wheat beer packs a punch, and if I wasn’t four-chords deep in “Welcome to the Jungle,” I probably would’ve noticed.
Good stuff though. I’m not sure how to categorize anything with the imperial designation nowadays. Sometimes it seems like a marketing gimmick, while at other times I appreciate the extra ingredients.
As far as a wheat goes, this beer offers that tongue-tantalizing tangy flavor with a nice balance of hops and musty wheatiness. The higher alcohol content plays tricks with your taste buds, but the weizen shines through nonetheless.
Ah, yes, slammin’ epic guitar tunes with just any beer would not work at this stage in my life. Fake playing “Mississippi Queen” with a plastic guitar as a fictional Slash in front of Beelzebub himself should only be done in the company of a fine imperial of any kind.
Rock on forever,
You’re in the beer aisle of the grocery store and clumsily palm the number pad on your cell phone to call your wife.
“Honey, what’s for dinner?”
“Pesto, why aren’t you home yet?”
“Nevermind that, what goes with pesto?”
Yes, that was an overuse of the question mark, but I assure you it’s a likely scenario.
So you’re standing in the beer aisle, having utterly confused yourself in the wine aisle, and you’re wondering if beer would go well with pesto.
Well, my beer-swilling friends, I’m going to help you solve this question once and for all.
When you’re in the beer aisle and you don’t know what kind of beer to match with what kind of meal, start with this simple idea: when in doubt, wheat.
Wheat beers, with their medium body, semi-sweet malted wheat, citrusy hops and moderate alcohol, may be the most versatile beer out there.
With that in mind, I tried two Montana wheats with a batch of my wife’s home-grown basil pesto.
Red Lodge Ales Hefeweizen is a light wheat with a pale gold color. The body is medium to light and there is a pleasant little bite on the end of the finish.
Bayern Brewing St. Wilbur Weizen is a true German hef with all the bells and whistles. It’s got more body than the Red Lodge hef, but it’s less sweet. The Hallertauer Perle hops used at Bayern are the original citrus bombs that give hef its reputation and cause American beer drinkers to drop a lemon wedge in their wheats. I detected a strong banana ether on this particular bottle that I didn’t taste when I tried it on tap.
Each of these beers paired well with the pesto, as they do with many other dishes. Wheat beers tend to be easy to match with food because they are not an over-the-top beer, something to remember next time you’re in the grocery store on the phone with your wife.
I bought this batch of Montana wheat at Liquid Planet.
Two days after running the Honolulu Marathon my legs still burned with every step. So it was with some pleasure that I sunk back into the airplane seat for the half-hour flight to Kona, my chance to not have to walk somewhere for a set period of time.
My wife and I spent those two days after the marathon drinking strong German beer at Gordon Biersch and soaking our sore legs in the water at Ala Moana.
Kailua-Kona, with its dry heat and colonial feel, was a welcome respite from the big city, especially when we discovered Kona Brewing Co.
I had seen Longboard Lager on the mainland, but it never crossed my mind that
Having lived in the Islands on and off since 1987, I was familiar with Hawaiian beer lore and the fabled demise of Primo, a 100-year brewing operation that folded in the 1970s, and, which took with it Hawaii’s sense of pride in having its own beer.
But in the warehouse district of Kona, there is a place where you can order Thai-shrimp pizza and a pitcher of Wailua Wheat, a distinctly Hawaiian beer for its pale color, light texture and hint of passion fruit.
I’m not fond of flavored beers, but Kona Brewing Co. beers, like the Pipeline Porter, are infused with 100-percent Kona coffee. The Lilikoi Wheat, from which I suspect the Wailua Wheat derives, is brewed with locally grown lilikoi, or passion fruit.
The beers only hint at their coffee and fruit essences, so the flavors don’t insult the traditional tastes of each beer.
If you’ve read this far, I have good news.
I found six packs of Wailua Wheat at Orange Street Food Farm this week.
This tropical-fruit beer is great after a hot Saturday of yard work, with Asian food or lighter grilled foods like fish and chicken.
I don’t drink dark beer during the summer. The reason I don’t is probably psychological — dark beer means heavy beer. While that’s often true, there are a few beers out there that offer a dark complexion, good complexity and light body. Sounds like a description out of a romance novel doesn’t it? Here’s an article about schwarz weissbier, German black wheat beer, that sheds a little more light on dark beers you can drink during the summer. Read it here.
We have some really good breweries in Missoula. We’ve got a regionally renowned brewery in Big Sky, a local favorite in Kettlehouse, and there are days when I’m really glad we have a traditional German brewery because I can try a schwarz weissbier right here in town. That’s right, Bayern Brewery’s schwarz weissbier is on tap. I haven’t tried it yet, but after reading this article I’m going to head over to Bayern’s tasting room and have myself a taste of the dark side. Why don’t you join me.