Craft Beer Week Winning Beer – Hefeweizen

The Hefeweizen (which is a wheat beer) at 7 degrees Brauhaus won this title extremely easily, through solid brewing techniques and production ethics, and because it is – frankly – the only hefeweizen you should be consuming in Gurgaon. To explain this better, let’s look at what a Hefeweizen actually is…

Hefeweizen comes from two words, “hefe” (pronounced hey-fuh) meaning yeast and “weizen” (pronounced vyt-zen) literally means “yeast wheat” or “wheat beer served with yeast”. This is one of those wonderful beers from Bavaria in Germany that somehow survived the German purity law or Reinheitsgebot that states you may only use barley malt, yeast, hops and water in beer (we’re pretty sure this statement made the Belgians laugh real hard!). Since it’s made from wheat malt, it doesn’t technically qualify and should have been ended way back in the middle ages. One of the reasons it’s thought that this happy little wheat beer ran past the purists with middle finger extended, is due to the extremely unique nature of the yeast used. You could use the most award winning recipe, centuries old – if it doesn’t get the right yeast, it will fail.

It’s the yeast that gives it that unique banana and cloves character, that sometimes has notes of bubblegum in it as well (for real, that’s what it is supposed to taste like). Belgian wit beers are a completely different story and should never-ever have this character / flavour profile! Back to the winning beer though…

In Gurgaon (Gurugram, whatever) just about every wheat beer that was served (not all however) wasn’t just cloudy, but looked like milk. This is what brewers would call “Green” or unmatured beer and shows one of two things: Either the brewer has no idea what he’s doing and / or the brewery couldn’t give a damn. There’s a huge difference in flavour and drinkability of the finished product when you let the beer mature, good breweries can be quickly seen by showing this kind of knowledge in the product they produce. So use this knowledge to your advantage when next you order a wheat beer, and if you would like a good example to judge by, here’s one:

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STYLE CATEGORY 10A: German Weissbier

  1. Aroma – Instantaneously, this beer asserts itself as a weissbier as a properly balanced nose of both banana, clove with just a hint of bubblegum becomes immediately apparent. The hardest thing about brewing this beer is getting the balance of yeast-produced flavours just right, and Sagar’s Hefe knocks it out of the park. Fantastic.
  2. Appearance – Vibrant golden colour. Cloudy (NOT milky), rock-solid head that was steadfast even after a few drinks (see pictured image below) with a texture like vanilla mousse. Bang on!
  3. Flavour – Great balance of yeast derived flavours exactly like the aroma. Slight sweetness, more due to being low hopped than any residual sweetness which is appropriate for this style. Hops are nealy un-detectable, exactly right for this kind of wheat beer. Dry finish. Great!
  4. Mouthfeel – Light, almost fluffy texture on the tongue. The combination of carbonation and German wheat malt makes an almost creamy impression. Superb!
  5. Overall – an excellent example of what the combination of a good brewer and a good recipe can do. A great, characterful Bavarian style wheat beer, expertly brewed and judiciously matured that’s refreshing and delicious.

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Great work to Sagar Powale, a talented and conscientious brewer who absolutely deserved to win with his Hefe, and two thumbs up to 7 degrees Brauhaus for hiring him in the first place!

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