Five on Five: Wheat Ales

Allagash White

Julia Herz, executive director, American Homebrewers Association

“A classic. Best paired with an authentic New England lobster roll. The bread-dough flavor of the wheat malt falls into the butter-grilled roll like two high school kids on their third date, and the beer’s Belgian yeast phenols of vanilla and clove spice up the lobster like a salsa dancer on Friday night.”

Schneider Aventinus

Allison Lange, molecular biologist at Omega Yeast, former head brewer at Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, Virginia

“My first taste was at Birch & Barley in D.C. as part of a curated pairing menu. It was early in my beer career, and the huge, food-friendly raisin and banana aromas; the toffee, caramel, and clove flavors; and the sweet malt backbone really opened my eyes to the rich potential of beer-food pairings. For me, the wheat comes through at the end, adding major body and balancing the hit of booze. I was psyched when the brewery started releasing Aventinus in cans, and I loved learning the story of how Mathilde Schneider oversaw the release of this women’s suffrage–inspired beer in 1907 as she was ghost-running the brewery after her husband’s death.”

Franziskaner Weissbier Naturtrüb

Glen Brumby, cofounder, Interstellar Brewery in Mexico City

“Pre-COVID, I frequented the Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt, arrival time 5 a.m., where it’s serve yourself (with proper glassware) and the Weissbier is fresh. Breakfast time in Frankfurt and beer time back home? A hefe ticks both boxes. With its perfectly hazy body and meringue-like topping, all those notes that we as brewers try so hard to achieve in a hefe—banana, clove, and even a touch of citrus—are all present with attitude!”

Bell’s Oberon

Zach Typinski, head brewer and cofounder, Urbanrest Brewing in Ferndale, Michigan

“Wheat beers were my entry in to the craft-beer world—soft, pillowy texture with a focus on citrusy tropical fruit, banana, and perhaps even some dusty clove. As a Michigander (and grad of Western Michigan University), it’s impossible not to mention the iconic Bell’s Oberon. From my very first sip out of that red solo cup in college, it changed my perception of what beer could be. Citrusy, bright, and hazy—like sunshine in a glass. Every year there’d be midnight tappings to kick off its release, on the first day of Spring. It was a breath of fresh air after battling through the harsh Michigan winters.”

Pasteur Street PassionFruit Wheat

Scott Hunt, cofounder and director of brewing operations, Wild West Brewing in Chengdu, China

“Fresh, local passion fruit proves to be the ultimate addition to American-style wheat beer. This is one session-strength beer (4 percent ABV) that definitely gets and holds your attention. All of the sweet and sour action here comes from the locally- sourced passion fruit (more tart than sweet). Yes, it’s a fruited wheat, but it’s not over-the-top fruity, as that soft bready background still comes through nicely. Hot, humid weather and vibrant cuisine are where this beer really shines.”

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