Paulaner’s Hefe-Weizen is an unfiltered German wheat beer and a great example of this traditional style. Paulaner was one of my own personal “gateway” beers away from the Heineken, Peroni and Nastro Azzurro I “grew up” on (I know, not the traditional beers most people drink when they are underage! lol) toward good beers.
It had been a few years since I’ve had one, so when I saw it at the local shop I figured it would be a good idea to see if it’s as good as I remember it being.
Wheat beers like this one are often full of wonderful flavors and aromas like banana and cloves that come from the esters in them, as well as a fairly light body, nice carbonation and relatively light alcohol. Paulaner weighs in at 5.5%ABV, so while you can’t put away too many of the large 22oz bottles, you can certainly enjoy one or two without falling into traffic and getting your head run over!
While I’m sure you don’t want a chemistry lesson, to review, esters are formed by the particular types of yeasts favored in the hefeweizen style. One ester in particular, isoamyl acetate, is also found in bananas, hence the strong banana aroma that comes off these beers, typically. In my experience, Franziskaner’s hefe has way more banana aroma than the Paulaner does, so if you really want to experience what I’m writing about, get a nice fresh bottle of it or have one at Charlie Hooper’s in Brookside. Hooper’s never disappoints when I’ve had Franziskaner there. They have both the dunkel (dark) and the regular one. Get the regular to get what I mean about esters!
Back to the Paulaner. It is a beautiful example of a hefe. Pour about half of it into a large pilsner style glass like the one pictured above, then make sure you mix all the yeast in as you continue to pour. You will get an enormous head that is about the consistency of shaving cream, and you can build it up over the glass like it’s an ice cream cone! It’s a very impressive beer.
It tastes relatively light and suffers a little from a thin mouth feel, but otherwise the Paulaner is a nice drinker and a wonderful thirst quencher in the summertime. Pair it with light foods like salads and fish.