A classic German style brewed right here in Sydney – 4 Pines Hefeweizen!
One of the best things about the Sydney craft beer scene is the variety of beers you can now get.
We’ve moved past lagers and pale ales and different styles from around the world are now available – many of them brewed right here.
4 Pines Hefeweizen is a shining example of this. It’s a classic European style, one of my favourites whenever I get to visit Germany, a German wheat ale.
Hefeweizens are traditionally made from 50% or more wheat. The “hefe” part means “with yeast” – it’s meant to indicate that the beer has been bottle conditioned so yeast sediment will exist in the bottle.
It also helps that the brewers are up front about the yeast character the drinker should expect.
This is what typifies the hefeweizen style. The yeast aroma could be described as being like banana. But it’s also more complex than that.
There’s subtle clove in there. Some people might smell some bubblegum but, for me at least, I get much more banana from this 4 Pines hefeweizen.
The aroma leads into the flavours and there’s a satisfying wheatiness to it, a certain dryness which marries with the sweet taste in a perfect union. The finish is beautifully crisp and it’s a very refreshing drink.
Hefeweizens can look quite different, varying from a clarity akin to a lager to a very cloudy and hazy golden colour. If you’re drinking this beer from a bottle and it’s been standing a while then it will pour a very clear straw colour.
An interesting experiment is to buy a couple of bottles, pour one after it’s been standing but leave a bit at the bottom.
When you’re done enjoying it, pour the last remaining liquid into your glass and see how cloudy it is. You should be able to taste and smell a difference too. This is from the yeast sediment settling at the bottom of the bottle.
Alternatively, you could lie the bottle down or roll it (like you would with a Coopers bottle).
This will mix up the sediment and it should pour a more hazy and cloudy liquid. Give it a try and spot the difference.
You could always seek it out on tap (try the 4 Pines brewpub in Manly) and compare and contrast once again.
Sydney beer geeks (and newbies to all things crafty) can count themselves lucky that this classic German style is produced so well right on our shores. 4 Pines really are a driving force for good beer in Australia.
As with many German beers, Hefeweizen is traditionally brewed according to the German purity laws, successors to the Reinheitsgebot, which specified that beer could only be produced using three ingredients: malted barley, hops and water (and of course yeast, although this wasn’t really understood at the time, and eventually wheat).
This is something the 4 Pines brewers subscribe to (although they definitely understand yeast now) and they follow through with it in this beer. It’s a constant amazement and one of the biggest thrills of being a craft beer drinker that so much flavour can come from just four relatively simple ingredients.
This is a beer I return to again and again. It’s such a dependable drink, nearly always tastes amazing, can be drunk comfortably all year round and is available from even the most basic bottleshops.
Hefeweizens like this are perfect to drink on their own in a sunny beer garden (as you would in Germany) or as an accompaniment to a meal such as pasta (or German spätzle) or a warm chicken salad.
Beer style: Hefeweizen
Malt: Pale, Wheat, Carapils, Carawheat, Torrified Wheat
Hops: Southern Cross, Pacifica
Pair with: German spätzle
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