• Dining

Get Your Last Taste Of Summer

And then it’s time to slide on into fall


September 13, 2017
By Jeff Gredlein | The Beer Snob

As we begin the slow, sometimes painful descent into fall, you will likely see fewer and fewer summer beers available in stores and on taps, many being replaced by the darker and more robust autumn fare. By September, most of us in the south are quite ready for the cooler temps and signs of change, but the continued sweltering days just do not lend themselves to these richer, stronger beers.

There are very few if any beers that are not completely light and breezy, such as summer beers like pilsner, wheat and kolsh, yet do not move into the stronger categories of the fall beers like Marzen, all-malt lager and ESB. One option is the darker side of the wheat family called dunkelweizen, or dark wheat beer. A dark and maltier version of the hefeweizen, the dunkel will still have noticable hefe characteristics of clove and banana flavors and smell and the bready or grainy elements of wheat. Dunkelweizen, dunkelweissbier, or dark wheat (beer) is a fantastic ale to which all should be familiar. Take the creamy refreshing nature of your standard wheat beer and add dark malts and the result is a authentically unique beer of character.

When searching for the classic version of the style, you will have to go with the Germans on this. Weihenstephaner and Hacker-Pschorr both make dunkels that are amazing.

The supposed American dunkelweissbiers tend toward a newer category known as dark wheat ale. Much like Bell’s Oberon, a pale wheat ale is more similar to an American pale ale than a German hefeweizen, the American dark wheat ale offerings are more akin to a cross between an American brown and a wheat ale.

Dunkelweizen, the southern German styled wheat beer is the perfect choice for a wheat beer drinker who needs more color, flavor, and kick, and a bit more ABV. These beers will offer aromas of sweet wheat, clove, honey and a touch of pepper in the nose.

It is not unusual to experience creamy and slightly sweet malt with a hint of smoke and pepper in the aftertaste as well. Hops are minimal to nonexistent; with a mouthfeel that gives a slight fizz on the tongue but almost no carbonation in the back of the mouth, perfect for the creamy texture of the brew.

Found in this year’s Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across the World box, Dunkle Weisse is a collaboration between SN and Germany’s historical Bavarian brewery Ayinger. Straddling the line between a classic dunkelweizen and an American dark wheat ale, this beer checks in at 5.7% ABV, well in the classic range. Also noted in this beer is a touch of vanilla bread in the flavor profile, a step up in the richness department compared to the standard dark malt notes. Amber to brown, the beer had a medium body and a soft feel across the tongue.

This beer succeeds at staying almost easy drinking, almost light, but has more taste and body. This is a great choice beer-wise for weather that is not yet full on summer; the dark flavors and easy finish is perfect for the end of summer nights that can still be a bit muggy. An intricate beer for a complex time of year. Enjoy the brews
… Cheers.

Gene’s Haufbrau has at more than 200 beers in bottles or on tap. While they don’t have every beer the Beer Snob writes about, they probably  have most. E-mail the Beer Snob at publisher@westof.net.

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