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Wheat beers are inspired by the German weizen tradition, and they've been steadily gaining a following the past few years. The category is broad, allowing for a lot of nuance. As luck would have it, that provides plenty of excuses to drink new beers. Using wheat as an ingredient in the mash leads to a protein haze that gives wheat beers their characteristic cloudiness. The wheat/malt ratio and decision to filter or not generate a wide variety of wheat beer styles.
Typically, this beer is lighter, crisper and sometimes fruitier than other ales. Don't get scared of an unfiltered wheat beer though; it won't taste like a slice of bread. Wheat beer is served best at 45 or 50 degrees, and if you have the fortitude, enjoy it out of a flute instead of a pint glass.
What Are the Types of Wheat Ale?
There are tons of different wheat ales, ranging from classic German recipes to the American take on the traditional type. While both German and American options are as refreshing as a Super Soaker burst on a hot day, American versions of wheat ale are more hoppy, while German styles tend to have more dryness.
- White IPA: If you've ever wanted to blend beer styles to create something insanely delicious, reach for a White IPA. You'll recognize it by its lighter (no, not white) color. This combines the hoppiness of an IPA with traditional Belgian wheat beer. The result is a golden-colored beverage that's light, crisp and perfect for sitting on the beach or by the pool.
- Weizen Bock: Originally brewed in Bavaria, weizen bock is one of the most famous German wheat beers. Packing rich and malty flavors, weizen bocks have a higher ABV, with some ranging as high as 7 percent. If you show up late to the party and need a wheat beer to get you going, grab a weizen bock.
- Hefeweizen: Literally meaning "yeast beer," Hefeweizen is the original German wheat beer. Coming in both filtered and unfiltered varieties, it can make your taste buds rejoice with added flavors such as banana, clove and even bubble gum. It's no substitute for a pack of Wrigley's, but it's a solid choice of wheat beer.
- American Pale Wheat Ale: Similar to a Hefeweizen, this Americanized version of this iconic German beer has a light to medium body with tons of carbonation. The main difference is that you won't find any clove or banana flavors in this wheat ale. Instead, there's a fruity flavor from the yeast you can't quite put your finger on. The hop character varies from heavy to light, so there's no telling just how many IBUs you might find in one of these concoctions.