Umami Mart Sake
I received a rave review of this beer in my inbox a couple of weeks ago from my friend Lakshman. If someone emails you at length about how great a particular product is, chances are it's worth trying. I finally got around to it, and this certainly is a lovely summertime beverage. At the very least, I wanted to share the email with you- it's too good! -kayoko

By Lakshman Srinivasan

Hopfen Weisse seemed like a very contrived name - sort of Benny Hill German - and I almost moved on because of that. Still, it had the Schneider Weisse label and Schneider lay claim, with some merit, to being the first brewers to start the Hefweizen style.

As it turns out, Hopfen Weisse is the love child of brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of Schneider and Garrett Oliver of the Brooklyn Brewery. (Yes, they are both men and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). To their credit, they didn't just go for a vanilla hefeweizen, but experimented by going a bit heavy with all the ingredients.

The result is an over the top creation that is still beautifully balanced. It is called a pale hefe, which it is by Schneider's standards, but Schneider's flagship Ur-weisse is somewhat darker than an English bitter. I sampled this in a stein (as in stone container), so I had to guess at the color a bit - definitely still dark.

The over the top malt gives this beer great heft. No, we are not talking stouty heft, which would be unforgiveable in a hefe, but just a bit of "meat" in this summertime thirst quencher. Aggressive hopping give it almost an IPA bitter edge that challenged the characteristic wheat tartness.

They haven't skimped on the yeast either, with this baby coming in at a sturdy 8.2% alcohol by volume. Trickling this beer out, even into a fairly wide glass was a challenge due to the irresistible head - I will admit I couldn't fit it all in one pour, but had to enjoy quite a few gulps of foam before getting to the bottom of the bottle.

You want to take your time with this one and have a designated driver handy. Of course, it is best drunk in a patio, gazing up at a nonagonal piece of perfect blue sky (that little extra probably not available at your local grocery store).
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1 comment

  • Lakshman, are you doing the beer-tasting party this year? Although I am not a beer person, I will definitely attend if you have one next year, for the company and tapas.

    yoko on

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