260px-franziskaner_weisse_169_ozglassFranziskaner is a German brewery that makes traditional style wheat beers known as hefe-weisse. These beers usually have a nicely carbonated, light, refreshing flavor and are very thirst-quenching. One of the hallmarks of the hefe style is that the yeast is still in the bottle and about 2/3 into pouring the beer you should swirl the bottle to break up the sediment and mix the yeast into your glass.

I reviewed the Paulaner hefe recently, and like Paulaner, Franziskaner has always been a great example of this style of beer. Comparing the two, the Paulaner is a little more gold in color and seems to have more yeast in it, with some “globs” of it settling in the bottom of my glass already. The had doesn’t develop quite as dramatically as the Paulaner’s does, either.

There is more banana on the aroma and flavor than Paulaner. This is a good beer to use to “calibrate” your tastebuds and sense of smell to so you know what people are talking about when they say they taste or smell bananas in a beer. 

The banana aroma and flavor comes from isoamyl acetate, a type of ester compound that the yeasts used in making hefeweisse beers creates during fermentation. This same ester compound is found in bananas. Esters will generally give beers a fruity character, sometimes more of cloves, which I detect a little of on this beer.

Franziskaner is a wonderful drinker and a great beer for a summer day and with light food like salads, chicken and fish. It is beautiful to look at and not overly complex, so it serves as a good gateway beer as you transition away from the typical American lights.