Following on the heels of eating good food, the second-best part of our job is the thrill of discovery. Experiencing new categories or sub-categories of food and drink makes it a good day.
Take wheat beer, for example. It’s a lighter style on the opposite spectrum of what we personally prefer (IPA, Porter, Stout).
But Schöfferhofer showed us a different take on the German tradition of premium wheat beer, with their Hefeweizen mix.
SCHÖFFERHOFER HEFEWEIZEN MIX BEERS
Hefeweizen is one of the types of wheat beer (see the rest below).
Schöfferhofer, a German brewer, was the first brewery to blend 50% Hefeweizen beer with 50% grapefruit juice, creating a refreshing taste experience that to us, is so much more alluring than the Belgian lambics we’ve tried.
(Although a Schaarbeekse krieken, a cherry kriek from Belgium, is really nice with a chocolate dessert.)
Schöfferhofer Grapefruit took off, engendering Passionfruit and Pomegranate versions.
These 50% fruit juice beers are what you’d imagine a fruity, soft-drink version of beer to be. There’s lots of fruit flavor and some sparkle, with a depth of hefeweizen flavor.
The three fruit flavors—Grapefruit, Passionfruit, and Pomegranate—are enjoyable year-round. Right now, the colors of the beers resemble the colors of the turning fall leaves.
WHEN TO DRINK THEM
Try them with just about any food where you’d like to pair a fruity, slightly sweet beverage.
Food: We first tried the beers with Mexican food. The fruitiness complemented the chile flavors. Great with a hot dog, too.
Dessert: The beers are a natural with baked goods, fruit desserts, and sorbet.
Cocktails: There are quite a few beer cocktail recipes on the website. The ones we tried were so enjoyable, we’re thinking about a “beertail” get-together.
Ready to quaff?
Here’s a store locator. You can also buy the beers online.
TYPES OF WHEAT BEER
Wheat beers are a challenge to make. Barley malt is easier to brew with, while wheat beers are exceptionally hard to brew.
That’s because the proteins and starches in the wheat want to bind, making it trickier to extract the sugars.
These same proteins make wheat exceptional for baking. Think stretchy pizza dough says Allagash Brewing Company, a craft brewer of fine American wheat beers (photo #5).
The different styles of wheat beer have one thing in common: wheat comprises a substantial portion of the grain used in brewing. (Most European and American beers are brewed primarily with malted barley.)
The wheat typically makes the beer lighter in color, so they are called “white beer.” They’re not white, of course, but range from straw to light gold (photos #4 and #5).
While wheat beers may seem similar, there’s a bit of difference between them.
American Wheat Beer: Whether clear or cloudy, American wheat beers have a more noticeable hop character than a witbier or hefeweizen.
Bière blanche: The French-language name for wheat beer (blanche means white).
Hefeweissbier or Hefeweizen: Hefe is the German word for yeast, indicating that the beer is bottle-conditioned (unfiltered), and might have sediment.
Kristallweissbier or Kristallweizen: Kristall is the German word for crystal. It indicates a Weissbier that is filtered, removing the sediment.
Dunkles Weissbier or Dunkelweizen: A dark version of a wheat beer. Dunkel is the German word for dark.
Hefeweizen. Hefeweizen is a type of German white beer, more than 50% wheat-based. Hefeweizen means “yeast wheat” in German. The aromas and flavors include banana and clove, and sometimes vanilla, which are created by the Bavarian yeast strains used to ferment them. Weiss beers can be clear or cloudy, with colors from gold to amber to mahogany.
Weissbier. The term for white beer in Bavaria and Austria.
Weizenbier, or Weizen: The term for wheat in the western and northern German regions. Weizen is German for “wheat.”
Weizenbock: A wheat beer made in the bock style originating in Germany. (Bock is a dark, bottom-fermented, lightly hopped style).
Witbier. The Dutch term for “white beer,” witbiers use a significant portion of wheat in the beer. Witbiers are typically brewed with coriander and citrus or other spices, which complement the bready, bright wheat notes. They are always cloudy.
> THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER
> THE HISTORY OF BEER
 Schöfferhofer grapefruit wheat beer (photos #1, #2 and #3 © Schofferhofer).
 Have a passion for passionfruit Schofferhofer.
 Pomegranate, a popular fall flavor, is a best-seller year-round.
 A glass of conventional wheat beer (photo © Kriss Szkurlatowski | Stock Xchange).
 Allagash, an American wheat beer (photo © Allagash Brewing Company).