Did you say that's the ‘Hoff’ in your Glass?!

This month we are focusing on German beers, as Oktoberfest celebrations are rolled out in late September and throughout October  (the offical dates in Germany for 2015 is 20th September - 5th October).
Today, we are focusing on a beer style that has gained some following in Australia over 20 years ago. It was then we were first exposed to the German wheat beer style by a group of innovative guys who took the Bavarian style and made it a household name using a very iconic Australian name. This goes to show my age now as I remember spending many Sunday Sessions at the Matilda Bay Pub in Perth drinking a cloudy beer that was quite fruity, refreshing, very easy to drink on a hot day - that Beer was ‘Redback’.  It was served in the classic Bavarian glassware, which made the whole experience attractive to the public. The original owners were also instrumental in the rise of what people called back then ‘Yuppie Pubs’.  In fact they were the first real foody pubs as well, great beers, contemporary venues with great food and (although albeit small) great quirky wine lists as well. 
We move forward 25+ years (writing this really hurts as it has made me realise how much older I am!) where Redback and Matilda Bay have (sadly) slowly faded away from their highs in the 1990's and 2000's, we now have a wide range of true German wheat beers - aka Hefeweizen’s and Kristallweizen’s.
One that I have a real liking to is Schöfferhofer.  Having known the Importer for several years now, I have the beer in my fridge all the time and love drinking it!  It reminds me of my younger days of drinking Redback sitting in the sun with friends enjoying this style of beer. Schöfferhofer make many different styles of wheat beers, but the two that are widely drunk in Australia are the Hefeweizen (cloudy) and Kristallweizen (clear).  They really nail the fruitness of the beer and in particular the style. 

Schöfferhofer is a brand named for the former house of Peter Schöffer in which a brewery was founded. This brand of beer sports a portrait of Peter Schöffer as its trademark. The Schöfferhofer originates from this brewery located in Mainz. Peter Schöffer was an early German printer, who was the principal workman of Johannes Gutenberg (the inventor of modern typography) whose 42-Line Bible was completed in 1455.  Some 500 years later, in 1921, this Mainz brewery was merged into what is now the Binding-Brauerei AG, which is located in Frankfurt.  The founder, Conrad Binding was a Cooper and Beer brewer, who bought a small brewery in the old town of Frankfurt in 1870. The group Binding-Brauerei AG has been operating since 2002 as the Radeberger Gruppe, and now includes big breweries like the Radeberger Export Brewery and the Berliner-Kindl Brewery. Its output is around 13 million hectolitres annually making it the largest brewery group in Germany.  By the way Grapies, watch the video below on how to pour a wheat beer in the 'precise' German way.

The Beers 

Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen (Yeasty/Cloudy) Wheat Beer is brewed in the Bavarian tradition using wheat malt, and comes in half litre bottles (500ml). The live yeast allows for bottle "conditioning" and guarantees a refreshing fruity flavor. The yeast sediment also leads to the "cloudy" nature of the beer. Care needs to be taken when pouring. Tilt glass and pour ¾ of the Beer slowly. Before pouring the last quarter, roll the bottle gently back and forward until sediment is dissolved.
It has a great orangey-gold colour, hazy with a dense white head. It exhibits aromas of citrus, banana and wheat. With 5.1% alcohol by volume, the taste is of sweet fruit and caramel on top of the bitterness. Rather dry with a medium body. Interesting how this style of wheat beer is drunk a lot in summer here in Australia, as Hefeweizen is traditionally drunk in winter back in Germany. I just wonder if Redback had conditioned our market so early on to get this type of behavior in us Aussies, but hey, it doesn’t matter!  It’s a great beer in any season! Bring on the German sausage and mustard! 

Schöfferhofer Kristallweizen (Clear) Wheat Beer  is a top fermenting beer with 5.1% alcohol by volume, presented also in a 500ml bottle (as most good  wheat beers are). This style is brewed crystal (Kristall) clear and a great golden colour with a thick and persistent white head.  The Kristall provides an appealing aroma of wheat and clove associated with a hint of banana. But unlike the Hefe, it has a much sharper cleaner taste of hops that dissipates to a mild lingering malt flavour followed by a dry finish.  More refreshing on the palette and you can see how in Germany this style is traditionally drunk in the summer months because of its freshness. I personally prefer this style and I like its thirst quenching cleanliness. Good quality fish and chips with this one!

That's $7.32 a Litre!  Grab some while you still can as these will not last with this fantastic price!  Try it for yourself and be surprised!


The Wine Guy

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