So the bottleshop, aka Plonk, was out of Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen – I wouldn’t have a bar of The Höff (i.e. Schöfferhofer), Franziskaner or King Ludwig, I wanted the Big W. Then co-owner Liz mentioned Benediktiner being comparable to Big W, I hadn’t tried it yet… and here we are herren und damen: My review of Benediktiner Weissbier. Needless to say it has an uphill battle to be considered comparable to Weihenstephan’s greatest, but let’s give it a shot hey?
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Weizen glass.
A: Das ist nicht naturtrüb!* [said in my angriest German accent – you don’t want to hear how angry it is – it makes Adolf sound like a kitten] A barely hazed amber/orange body with a dense cream-coloured 3cm head which soon settles to half a centimetre. Weihenstephaner wins round one. 6/10.
S: Ripe banana, slightly sour/bready yeast and a hint of clove Phenol in the finish – A Weizen class act all the way… I think this is a tie – Big W got a slam dunk 10/10 for aroma too. 10/10.
T: All the elements are there: Ripe banana, bread yeast, hint of clove and pepper, with a slight (and entirely acceptable given the style) buttery Diacetyl. Finish is reasonably drier than other Weizens. The only thing this is lacking over the mighty Weihenstephan is a touch of flavour intensity – this one is, by comparison to Big W, a more muted profile. It’s still pretty tasty though! 8/10.
M: Mouthfeel feels a bit thin compared to other Weizens though with a mid to light body but creamy dense carbonation – it could be better here. 7/10.
D: Not bad at all, it’s no Weihenstephaner (which I can recall by rote now after all the cases I’ve had of it) but it is a half-decent Weizen to knock back when the bottleshop is out of Big W. One particular complaint I had was how boring it became as I got towards the end of the glass. I mean it’s not offensively bland but it certainly, as I mentioned above, use a bit more of a flavour kick… so the mighty Groß W still stands as my Hefeweizen König. 7/10.
Food match: I’m going to play it safe and say: Weißwurst mit senf und laugenbrot.
*Naturtrüb is the German term for cloudy yeast in the glass.