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The Dark Side of Weihenstephaner

A few months ago one of the world’s most revered hefeweizens hit Alberta. It didn’t last long, but those of us quick on the draw got to sample a bottle or two (it may be back, I am not sure). The beer was Weihenstephaner and it is both one of the oldest beer still in production and a true classic of its style. And as my review discusses it is a very strong example of the style.

So imagine my surprise to be in my favourite liquor store the other day and find bottles of Weihenstephaner Dunkelweizen – the dark version of this classic beer. This was wholly unexpected but I could not resist. I scooped up the bottle and opened it at the earliest convenience.

It pours with a thick haze that shows off some dark copper. It has a mountainous, rocky off-white head. The aroma is ht bubble gum and a touch of banana. There is some bready malt underneath and some other fruitiness. It tastes of soft bread, toffee and brown sugar. There is also a soft spiciness of clove, nutmeg, banana and raisin. The yeast has an earthy, spicy character to it. I detect lots of cinnamon toast mixed with plum and vanilla.

This is a very interesting beer – both complex and simple at the same time. It is the most balanced dunkelweizen I have ever experienced, which is saying something.

Just like its lighter sister, I imagine this beer isn’t at its best – but when it is fresh and local it must be utterly wonderful. Having being shipped across the Atlantic, it is impressive how good it remains. Straight up, I can name a couple of dunkelweizens better than this one. Factoring in the travel, I doubt anything can surpass a fresh, local pint of this beer. I wonder what is next from this brewery?

 

5 comments to The Dark Side of Weihenstephaner

  • Nice review – I have seen this at on the shelf there but haven’t picked one up yet as I was looking for the standard Weihenstephaner.

    They were sold out of Weihenstephaner a week or two ago but they got more in as of Thursday last week. Anyone looking for it can go pick up the Weihenstephaner double header at Sherbrooke right now.

    Prost!

  • Jim Pettinger

    Apart from selling out for a day or two, I don’t believe I’ve ever been out of either. Hadn’t noticed any warehouse issues either.

  • Chris

    I was gonna say I’ve constantly seen it at Sherbrooke, since last summer, even at the holiday season and such. Nonetheless, I was extremely ecstatic to see them come in last summer, when I thought the only opportunity i would have to taste the beer was when i was in NY the week before they came to Edmonton.
    That said, what are the couple of better Dunkleweizen’s you’ve had?

    • It is possible I am wrong about the Hefeweizen. I just know when I went looking for it over the last few months, it wasn’t there. But that could just be bad luck on my part.

      As for which dunkelweizens I have had that, on the surface, might have been better – and keep in mind I believe the Weihenstephaner would be even better, and thus unparalleled, in Germany – I really respect Denison’s dunkelweizen from Toronto. I also had Dieu Du Ciel’s version one night and it was remarkable. I tasted both fresh. So, with a level playing field, would they be superior? I doubt it. But, really, what a great problem to have to choose between those three beer.

      Cheers.

  • Brent Baldwin

    Hello
    It’s now 2014 and I find the above info out of date. I was in Austria last month and served Weihenstephaner hefe weissbier at a restaurant and I was stunned at the wonderful flavor and texture of the drink. I’m no aficionado nor big beer drinker however that was one of the finest beverages I have tasted. Could you point out where I might purchase the beer in Alberta and BC.
    Thanks

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