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Des de Moor
Best beer and travel writing award 2015, 2011 -- British Guild of Beer Writers Awards
Accredited Beer Sommelier
Writer of "Probably the best book about beer in London" - Londonist
"A necessity if you're a beer geek travelling to London town" - Beer Advocate
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"One of the top beer writers in the UK" - Mark Dredge.
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Des de Moor

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Erdinger Weißbier mit feiner Hefe

Originally published in BEER April 2007 as part of a piece about German wheat beers available from British supermarkets.

ABV: 5.3 per cent
Origin: Erding, Bayern, Germany
Website: www.erdinger.de

Weissbier mit feine Hefe

I can think of few beer styles more suitable for springtime drinking than pale unfiltered wheat beer, with its citric and phenolic flavours and cheerful yellow and orange colours. And thankfully the use of wheat in brewing has enjoyed a revival in recent years thanks in part to the successful resurrection of the spiced Belgian style typified by Hoegaarden.

It’s easy to forget that only a few decades back, wheat beer brewing faced obliteration in the face of beers made entirely from more brewer-friendly barley. Only in Germany did wheat beer made conventionally with pitched yeast enjoy an unbroken 20th century, and there principally in that heartland of Germanic brewing tradition, Bavaria.

Bavarian Weißbier is one of the few great German beer styles dedicated British real ale drinkers can feel entirely comfortable with as it is both warm fermented and traditionally bottled “mit feiner Hefe” (with fine yeast), “in der Flasche gereift” (matured in the bottle) and “naturtrüb” (naturally cloudy), so qualifies as Real Ale in a Bottle.

There are also filtered (kristal), dark (dunkel), strong and even smoked malt variants. But this month I’m featuring examples from British supermarkets of the standard pale, cloudy Weißbier of around 5-5.3 per cent ABV. The cloudiness is part of the character – for best results, pour two thirds of the beer and give the bottle a good swirl before pouring the rest.

There are many hundreds of other examples, many of them excellent brews from smaller breweries – but in the UK you’ll have to hunt these down from specialist shops and beer festivals.

Erdinger, based in the town of Erding, outside Munich near the airport, is the biggest dedicated wheat beer brewer in Germany and the biggest German brewery of any kind still in private hands. Its Weißbier is exported to 70 other countries, but biggest doesn’t always mean best, and while perfectly acceptable, it’s not the most distinctive or characterful example of its style.

The beer pours orange-yellow with a good thick off-white head. It has a sharpish wheat and stewed apple aroma with oily, lanolin-like notes, but is short on the spicy, estery quality admired by devotees.

The palate is lively and refreshing with citrus and a touch of burry hops, but a little thin and rough-edged. A tangy, lightly citric finish is pleasant enough with custard cream biscuits and a bitterish hop note developing.

For more Bavarian wheat beers see next post.

Read more about this beer at ratebeer.com: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/erdinger-weissbier-hefe-weizen/2468/

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