Everyone knows that Germans are mad about beer, but did you know that weissbier or weizen is considered breakfast beer in Germany? True story. It usually comes with boiled sausage, pretzels and mustard. I don’t know about you but to me, that sounds like the breakfast of kings. The funny thing about weiss is that I didn’t always like it. Its flavour profile of cloves, banana and bubblegum always struck me as odd. But just like a majestic beard, weissbier has a way of growing on you.
Back in the day
The story goes that way back in the day, Germanic tribes started brewing ales with both wheat and barley. The result was a pale ale that was very different to the traditional dark beers, so they called it, ‘weissbier' (pronounced: “vice-beer”). Weissbier means “white beer” in German and it has to be made of at least 50% or more malted wheat and the rest is malted barley. There are various types of weissbier such as the popular hefeweizen (hazy, unfiltered), kristallweizen (clear, filtered) as well as dark varieties like dunkelweizen and weizenbock.
Weissbier has become a heavy hitter in South Africa and with our hot climate it’s no wonder. They’re light and refreshing and have a thick, fluffy and long-lasting white head. They’re fruity and spicy and you’re either going to love it straight off the bat or warm up to it like me. It’s usually unfiltered which gives it a hazy appearance and there could also be yeast sediment in the bottle. There are a lot of great weissbiers in South Africa but if you want my opinion, there’s one German fellow who knows them better than anyone.
Wolfgang Koedel is the master brewer at Cape Brewing Company. He believes in using only the best ingredients at his state of the art brewery, and the results speak for themselves. His Krystal Weiss with notes of lemon and grapefruit, took Best Beer on Show at the recent Johannesburg Festival of Beer. He also makes an unfiltered Amber Weiss and he’s just launched seasonal unfiltered Red Weiss which, according to Wolfgang, is made with the most expensive caramel malt in the world. Yup, Cape Brewing Company is the place to stop if you’re looking to start a new beer style addiction.
Weiss & food pairing
Germans love pork and so does weissbier. Pairings with sausages, cured meats or hams will make you feel like you’re sitting at Oktoberfest, tapping your foot along to the oompah band. You could also try one of my favourites, a ham and pineapple pizza washed down with a Cape Brewing Company Amber Weiss. Prost!
Word of the Day:
Ester: a fruity flavour or aroma produced during fermentation. This is what gives a weissbier its banana notes.
Written by: Beer Country, two of the thirstiest guys on the planet - Greg and Karl. Follow their fire-side journey as they crack open the brew culture of South Africa, discovering awesome beers and cooking great food along the way. This hoppy adventure is coming soon to a TV near you!
- Beer Country
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