Posts Tagged ‘Schneider Weisse’


Black is the new Black

June 18, 2010

It’s winter and a stereotype might suggest that this is the perfect time for dark beers. Of course dark beers can be perfect any time of the year but there’s certainly an element of truth that they become very appealing at this time of year along with rich, warming food.

Early in my beer drinking career I was a big fan of dark beers such as Monteith’s Dark and Black Mac but then as my interest in beer grew, my taste for dark styles waned. It’s only now that I’m getting back into dark beers and my tastes are quite particular.

Stout in my mind is highly overrated, in particular a certain well-known brew from Ireland. I will grant you that the Pogues and Jameson Whiskey are two of the very best things in this World, but Guinness – please!?! This was a beer that originally used Roasted Barley simply because it had less tax applied to it than malted grain – a cheap adjunct in the same way we beer snobs now think of rice or corn. On the other hand, Stout’s cousin Porter can be amazing. And then there is Dunkelwiezen – proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy if ever I saw it.

My top dark beer recommendations to get you through winter are as follows (some liberty taken as to the darkness of beer):

Renaissance Stonecutter: Anyone who knows me or reads this blog is probably well aware by now that I worship at the Stonecutter altar. This Scotch ale is truly one of the finest beers in this World with its dense layers of rich mahogany and a touch of smoke. Perfect winter nightcap beside a roaring fire (or heat pump).

Invercargill Brewery Pitchblack: Even though I just had a go at Stout, this one is enough to change my opinion. Dark, full-bodied, slightly sweet and displaying just the right amount of that delicious dark malt character, this is an extraordinarily good beer. Nothing at all to fault here.

Three Boys Porter: I haven’t had one of these this year but have fond memories of a couple of pints of from 2009. A very drinkable beer that makes you sit up and think – ‘damn, that’s a good beer, I think I’ll get another!’

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black: Dark beers are all about the malt – or are they? Pot Kettle Black is for the hop loving, dark beer connoisseur. Call it an American Porter, call it a Black IPA, call it whatever, this beer will change your perceptions about dark beer.

Townshend Old House ESB: A local favourite of mine, the complex flavours of this estery English ale include fudge and cidery fruit – perfect for a quiet night at home by the fire.

Chimay Grand Reserve (Blue): A bit like Champagne for the beer World, a 750ml bottle of Chimay Blue is going to make you feel special during those cold winter months. A bit like drinking spritzy, liquid cinnamon. Proof that beer brings happiness as if you needed it.

Mac’s Sassy Red: Every beer lover without a gold-plated pay packet and family to support needs a good domestic beer to tide them over. For me, this is Mac’s Sassy Red. I wasn’t always a fan – every second one was good but now I’m a total convert to the deliciously fresh, waxy, nutty malt character and spicy NZ hops. Proof that Mac’s can still deliver the goods.

Schneider Weisse Aventinus: Incredibly rich and luxurious, a perfect display of what a combination of wheat yeast and sweet, dark malts can achieve.

Which reminds me, NZ craft brewers need to release more dark wheat beers! And consider more sessionable examples around 5% abv without the hot alcohol flavours that make my tongue itch. I’ve even had a go at this at home (astute readers with an interest in 90’s ‘grunge’ music may even recognise the album I ripped-off this concept for my beer label from):





Beer review: Schneider Weisse (Original)

May 13, 2009

There’s not a great deal of European wheat beers readily available in NZ, so it’s great to see that Fresh Choice Nelson are now offering two beers from Germany’s Schneider Weisse – Original and Aventinus (more about this one in another review).

Style: Bavarian Hefe Weizen, 5.4% abv, 500ml bottle

I finally got round to sampling Original tonight and have to say I wasn’t hugely impressed – though I’ve found enjoying a wheat beer can very much depend on your mood, the weather, accompanying food etc on that particular day. The beer is a rich copper colour – darker than most hefe weizens and this is perhaps why the beer tasted more conventional – the esters not coming through as strongly as I expected. The classic banana and clove flavours were certainly there and enhanced by food, though the balance was more toward the tart citrus flavours than other hefe weizens I’ve tried – maybe I’m just a sweet tooth. The beer poured very effervescent and resulted in a thin, very creamy head. Aroma was estery but restrained.

If you visit the Brewery’s website linked above (change language into English bottom left) you’ll see that this beer has a cult following in Germany – with at least 50 fan clubs dedicated to Schneider Weisse! Other things of interest on this extensive site include a wheat beer lexicon and a pictorial of how to pour the perfect weisse.

The brewery dates from 1855 when Georg Schneider leased the royal ‘Weisse Brauhuas’ Hofbräuhaus. In 1872 he purchased wheat beer brewing rights from the Bavarian royal family. Previously wheat beer had only been brewed and consumed by the aristocracy and enjoyed new popularity, despite the spread of lager brewing. New breweries were opened in Munich and Kelheim – with the Munich site being destroyed during the war. Primary fermentation still takes place in open vats (sources: Roger Protz ‘Classic Bottled Beers of the World’ + the Schneider Weisse website).