Oktober Fest is here! This time I decided to talk about something different than the usual beers. Beer is generally made from malted cereals, mostly barley, hops, yeast, and water. But recently, a different kind of beer is becoming quite popular – wheat beers. Its made an entry into the beverage menus of popular restaurants and has been embraced by craft breweries too.
Wheat beer is a category of beer that originated in Bavaria. Wheat beer is generally a top-fermented ale. It uses at least 30% wheat in the brewing process and can be made into a variety of styles. Wheat beers are typically light in color, low to medium in alcohol content. It can be cloudy or clear in appearance. They can be brewed with or without hops, depending on the variety being brewed. Wheat beers generally lack bitterness, and are easy to drink.
Quick facts about Wheat Beer
Alcohol content by volume (ABV): 3.5 to 5.6%
Bitterness: 10 to 35 IBU
Color: 2 to 10 SRM
Are wheat beers same as lagers?
Wheat beers are often compared to lagers as both are light in color, low in bitterness and also have relatively low alcohol content. However, wheat beers are usually top fermented, while lagers are usually bottom fermented. Wheat beers must have a high percentage of malted or unmalted wheat while lagers can be made with corn, barley, rice or a combination of these grains. Also, lagers generally have more hop characters in its flavor profile compared to wheat beers. Wheat beers are also generally more foamy than lagers.
What are the other names for wheat beer?
Wheat beers have a few different names in different countries, such as:
- Weißbier: Bavaria and Austria
- Weizenbier or Weizen: Northern and Western German regions
- Witbier: Belgium
- Bière Blanche: France
What are the different styles of wheat beers?
There are many different styles of this easy-drinking brew, such as:
‘Hefe’ is the German word for yeast. It is the yeast which gives the Hefeweizen style of wheat beer a cloudy appearance and a fruity flavor. This wheat beer is light in color and low in bitterness, it is bubbly and hints of banana and clove. The banana and clove notes come from the brewing process and no bananas or cloves are added to the Hefeweizen.
American wheat beer is made with at least 30% malted wheat and is quite light. Lager or ale yeast is added to the American Beer. This beer tends to be hoppier than the German style wheat beers like Hefeweizen or Dunkelweizen.
The Berliner Weisse is bubbly, tart, and very refreshing. Due to this, it is commonly paired with fruit syrups like raspberry, peach, and grapefruit. The Berliner Weisse is generally unfiltered is pale, and is low on bitterness as well as alcohol content.
‘Witbier’ means ‘white beer’ in Flemish. Interestingly, Belgian-style Witbier is a variety of beer in itself. Witbier is a pale beer brewed using minimum 50% unmalted wheat. It has flavors of coriander and orange peel, and has refreshing subtle spicy notes.
Simply put, a Dunkelweizen is a cross between the Hefeweizen and the Dunkel. It is generally darker compared to other wheat beers. It has a sweet maltiness in its taste. It is low and bitterness, and has notes of banana r vanilla from the lager yeast used to brew this beer.
How to serve wheat beer?
Wheat beers are best served at a temperature of 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be served in a flute or a vase glass. As a best practice, chill the glass for a few minutes first or rinse it with cold water before pouring to avoid changes in temperature when serving. Berliner Weisse and Witbiers should be served in tulip glasses. Wheat beers are highly carbonated so how you pour it is very important.
What can you pair wheat beers with?
Wheat beers are light and refreshing due to which they can be paired with a wide variety of foods. Hefeweizens pair well with milder cheeses like mozzarella, German sausages, eggs, fresh fruits, and green leafy salads. In contrast, American wheat beers can be paired with spicy dishes. Berliner Weisse pairs goes very well with salty cheeses and meats as well as with desserts. Witbiers go best with French fries and rich cheeses like brie. Dunkelweizen beers can be paired with roasted foods and creamy desserts.
Popular wheat beers in India
Here are some of the popular wheat beers in India that you can try:
- Mad King Dufa
- White Owl Spark
- Bira White
- White Rhino
- Mahou Maestra Wheat
- 7Rivers Macha
- 7Rivers Veere
- Willy’s Witbier
- Thirsty Simona
- Arbor Easy Rider
- Kingfisher Ultra Witbier
Have you tried wheat beer? Do you like wheat beer? Would you like to try wheat beer? Tell me what you think.