Yeah, so, despite being named "Madison Beer Review" and our promise to review more beers, we've been extremely negligent in actually reviewing beers. Part of the reason is the paucity of the late-spring seasonals. Most of the breweries around here run their lighter, summery beers as year-round offerings, so there have been few "big seasonal releases" like we get with the Oktoberfests, porters and stouts, and bocks. New Glarus has released their Edel Pils, but that's it for them until July when they release the Dancing Man Wheat. We will review the Edel Pils soon. But not today. The Capital Fest, a summery light festbier will be out soon, if it's not out already; but Capital seems more interested in ratcheting up the hype (and distribution) for the Island Wheat. Leinie's has their Summer Shandy out, but it seems like they've kind of jumped the shark on that one and we may not get around to reviewing it; although, you never know, we just might throw it in a blind tasting sometime this summer for kicks. To my knowledge, the Tyranena Fargo Brothers Hefeweizen is not yet available.
And so on. Like I said, late May is kind of a down time for beer releases. The bocks are done, the hefeweizens have not yet made their arrival. Although, like all of those May flowers planted in a ritalin-fueled frenzy last weekend, the hefes will soon appear and make our summers light, yeasty and subtly fruity (even without the ever-present lemon wedge that bartenders insist on shoving on the top of my glass).
So, in anticipation of those Hefeweizens, we bring to you a hefeweizen that is available a few places around town, although this copy was procured at the West Side Steve's: the Kapuziner Bavarian Hefe, brewed by the Kulmbacher brewing group. Weighing in at a mere 5.4% ABV it is the ultimate summer beer. The website proclaims: "... tangy, fruity, with a typical, highly-fermented note. Naturally cloudy. Out of the beer cellar." Beer Advocate has only one review for this beer, while the folks at RateBeer seemed to have found it on a shelf.
Appearance: a dense, three-finger bleach white foam sits atop a slightly cloudy golden-yellow beer with numerous small bubbles for carbonation; the head falls away surprisingly quickly
Aroma: musty, with slight pear or earthy apple aroma; not a strong aroma at all;
Taste: crisp and slightly tart, with a faint bitter sourness; like biting into a beer-tasting granny-smith apple; quick finish leaves a faint yeasty fruitiness on the sides of the tongue
Body: light bodied with only a slight bitter-y, yeasty aftertaste
Drinkability: if this beer is your thing, it would be pretty easy to drink more than one of these things
Summary: the surprising tartness of this beer makes adding a lemon-wedge completely superfluous; taken on its own it's an interesting take on the hefeweizen style, foregoing the banana and cloves for an apple-like tartness; after a long day outside, or sitting out on a patio on hot summer day this beer could really hit the spot.