Beer in its most basic form is made of grain, water, yeast, and hops although many other ingredients can be added along the way. Wheat Beers are beers brewed with some amount of wheat in the recipe and this amount can go up to fifty percent of the total grain in the recipe. There are many types of Wheat Beers and some of the most popular are German-style Hefeweizens and American-style Wheat Ales.
Although there are many different sub-styles of German Wheat Beer, Bavarian Hefeweizens have probably become one of the most popular wheat beers in the world. These beers are brewed with a recipe of 50 percent wheat malt and 50 percent pilsner malt while using just enough hops to impart just enough bitterness to balance the malt flavor. The German yeast strain is an important part of Bavarian Hefeweizens as it contributes a spicy phenolic flavor along with banana, clove, bubblegum, citrus and apricot. Bavarian Hefeweizens are not filtered and combined with the wheat in the recipe are traditionally hazy. The wheat also contributes a creamy mouthfeel that’s full-bodied and these beers will have a high carbonation level.
American-style Wheat ales use up to 50 percent wheat in their recipes but will use an American yeast strain which produces a smooth refreshing beer that’s usually easy on the bitterness. Quite a few American Wheat Ales will have some type of fruit added to them that makes them even more popular in the warmer weather. There are many more types of Wheat beers and it’s fun to explore the different and interesting flavors that these beers have. Cheers!
Rob Mcferren is the owner of Wolf Creek Restaurant & Brewing Co.