Thursday, March 15, 2012

Favorite Beer

For my first real post I decided to talk about a question that I get asked all the time once people find out that I like beer. What beer is your favorite? It never fails. . . . and I can never seem to come up with a good answer. There are just to many out there, some of which are only seasonal, that I really like. I don't have a beer that I get every time I go to the store. In fact I often have to be dragged away from the beer section because I just like to walk up and down to see what I am in the mood for.

When this question comes up I often end up answering a different question. What type of beer could I drink no matter what kind of mood I am in. I have asked multiple friends, who like me prefer more than just a light generic beer, and they agree that this is a much easier answered question. So here it goes . . . . .

The type of beer I can drink, year round, no matter what mood I'm in is . . . . . . WHEAT BEER.

I love wheat beers more than any other type out there . . . .and the wonderful thing is there are so many types of wheat beers that I can never get bored because ,although they fall under the category of wheat, there are so many different variations out there.

First lets look back at a little of the history of wheat beers and what it means to be one. Wheat beers date back around 8,000 to 10,000 years ago where what is now present day Iraq. The Sumerians decided that they were tired of wandering around and settled down becoming the first recorded brewers of beer. . . . . .okay so maybe they were the first in other things too, but that's not the focus here. The wheat that they used is a very distant relative to the one that we use today. It had a firm husk that lent itself well to the beer making process. Over thousands of years of cross pollination with wild grains it slowly lost this husk which is a shame because a husk, while not absolutely needed, is wanted for the brewing process. This is why almost all wheat beers on the market are a mix of wheat and barley. Usually the mix is somewhere between 50% - 70% wheat.

Wheat beer actually all but died out in during the time that the German Beer Purity Laws came into effect. It was stated that the only ingredients that could be used to make beer were Water, Malt and Hops. Wheat beer was saved by the Degenborgers, a royal family, who were given a special degree to still make beer using wheat. Not until the 20th Century was wheat truly allowed back into brewing when less strict laws were introduced. Now many different fruits and spices are brewed with wheat beers to increase the variety available.

In fact a very small amount of wheat grown around the world is actually used for beer making. Very few farmers specialize in “beer” wheat so brewers are forced to make do with the various forms of wheat harvested for baking and other purposes. I might add though that they do a hell of a job with what they've got.

Wheat beers are characterized to have a full but soft mouth feel and a long lasting head. I myself am a fan of the unfiltered wheats that tend to, in my opinion, have a better flavor. They should not be to sweet or bitter with just a touch more of a hops taste than malt.

The main styles of Wheat Beer include Hefeweizen, Dark Wheats, Krystal, Belgian Witbiers and Sours. Each of these could have an entire article unto themselves but I will spare you the time that would take for me to write and you to read. It will suffice to say that they are all delicious.

Finally I will leave you with some tips for drinking a wheat beer.

  1. It should be poured down the side of a freshly rinsed out glass. Drinking it out of the bottle will not allow for full enjoyment.
  2. When there is about 1 to 1 ½ inches of beer left in the bottle you need to decide if you want to add in the wheat that has settled at the bottom. For me this is always a yes. To do this you can either swirl the bottle gently or roll it between your palms. Then pour the remainder of the beer directly into the center of the glass. This allows for the yeast and wheat remains to mix properly.
  3. Enjoy with anything because wheat beer has a mild enough flavor to pair well with almost all meals and snacks . . . . . or just by itself.
  4. I actually read a trick online, which I have not yet tried so if you do let me know in a comment, to put a grain of rice in the bottom of your glass. This will cause more bubbles to form resulting in a longer lasting head.

Well that is all for this post. Please comment and let me know what you think. I promise that these all won't be history lessons, but I just thought that I would get this question out of the way and thoroughly. Feel free to comment with what your favorite beer, individual or type, is currently and why.

May your beer journeys be good and long.



  1. Good post. Only problem is that it makes me feel like a complete nerd...

    1) the grain of rice is used to create nucleation sites in the beer (which mean that the microscopically touch surface of the rice basically shakes the CO2 out if your beer. While this will help with head retention it will also make the beer go flat more quickly. Also a well made beer should need no help with head retention.

    2) I prefer a pale ale. A beer I could drink any time a pale ale trumps every time. They are light and refreshing and a good example will have a great malt character to balance out the hops.

    1. That is a really good point. We all know that flat beer is no good. Also pale ales are delicious and are probably my second favorite.