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All about hefeweizen
The history of hefeweizens
The story of hefeweizen beers and other types of wheat ales started in Bavaria in the early 1500s, so they've been around for a very long time. Their name comes from the German "hefe," which means "yeast," and "weizen," which means "wheat."
In 1512, Bavaria approved the purity law, which prohibited brewers from using ingredients other than barley, hops and water. The law provision intended to set a health standard, but it was almost possible to craft a decent-tasting beer with only those ingredients.
The brewers started to rebel and enhance the flavor of their beers with various prohibited ingredients, including malted wheat. Luckily, the royals liked wheat beers. In the 1520s they passed a law that allowed a single brewery to make them. Fortunately for all of us, in modern times this beer variety has gained popularity in the United States. Many small and craft American brewers today produce hefeweizens, which are a variety of wheat beers.
What do hefeweizens taste like?
Many hefeweizen ales have refreshing notes of bubblegum, banana, cloves, spices or green apple, which originate from yeast strains. A hint of bitterness, which usually originates from yeast, accompanies these sweet notes. Hefeweizens are highly carbonated, so their mouthfeel is a little like a fizzy drink, but better! These unfiltered summer beers look cloudy, and you'll probably find a bit of sediment at the bottom of the glass. Most American brewers market hefeweizens as summer beers, thanks to their refreshing flavor and moderate alcohol content.
Food pairings for hefeweizens
These fizzy beers work best with summery foods like watermelon, salads, guacamole, tortillas, shrimps and smoked salmon. Germans like to drink them with weisswurst, a typical Bavarian white sausage that contains veal and pork. Hefeweizens also pair well with fresh cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, feta and goat cheeses.