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A Great Beer, That Fact is Kristall Clear

Regular readers of this website know that I am a long time fan of Weihenstephaner. Not only are they the oldest brewery in the world (opening in 1040, believe it or not), but they produce some of the world’s finest German-style wheat beer. I have reviewed their products a number of times, including here and here.

I am well aware that when their weizens hit Alberta store shelves they are not in peak condition. Weizens are notoriously fickle beer and don’t travel well. Still, even at less-than ideal condition, Weihenstephaner beer display all the features I look for in a good weisse. I really must find a way to the town north of Munich one day to try it fresh.

In the meantime, I found a Weihenstephaner beer I had not yet tried – their Kristall Weissbier – so quickly picked up a bottle. While most German wheat beer are intentionally hazy, a kristall weissbier is filtered to remove yeast and proteins that cause the haze. The result should be a beer that still displays the yeast flavours of a weizen but with a cleaner, crisper profile.

The beer pours a dark straw hue with, unsurprisingly, an amazing clarity. It looks like a pale lager. It produces a full, dense white head with quite a bit of lacing, which is more keeping with weizens. The aroma offers soft banana with hints of clove, some honey and a light grainy sweetness. Immediately I notice the aroma is not as assertive as other Weihenstephaner beer I have had.

The sip begins light and fruity with a noted banana and berry character. I also get a gentle sweetness and a soft wheat character. The middle sharpens up a bit with a light spice of clove and hints of earthy pepper. The finish is light and refreshing with a bit of a banana linger. Overall it has a fairly clean profile – almost lager-like.

Should I be surprised that they have produced a classic example of a Kristallweizen. You still get the hefe flavours but in a more subdued fashion. The beer is cleaner and crisper as a result. The original Weisse is subtle and  balanced. This version has that too, but offers a cleaner take.

I find myself pondering which version I prefer. An unfair comparison, I admit, but I can’t really help myself. If forced to choose I would go for the cloudy version for its more upfront flavours. However, I could see how switching it up to the cleaner, crystal take once in a while would be satisfying. A palate cleanser, in a way.

Either way, it is all Weihenstephaner which means it is all-world good.

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