29 August 2007 Location: Indianapolis Northside, just off of Township Line Road
For the second year in a row, I get invited to participate in a fantasy football league. The problem--I barely pay attention to the NFL. Okay, I occasionally watch the Colts and am happy when they win. But my variety of football is the kind that is played with the round ball that the players kick around, not the pointy one that the players throw, catch, and run with.
Yet I played fantasy football last year and kind of liked it. So I am on my way to the league draft again to match wits with nine other team owners. I'm expected to come to the draft with beer since the other owners know I'm the beer geek. I have four leftover bottles of Barley Island stuff (Dirty Helen Brown Ale, Sheet Metal Blonde Ale), but I have two empty spots in the six-pack bottle carrier. So I stop at the nearest liquor store--21st Amendment on Illinois and 56th--to see if I can buy a few choice single bottles. Upon walking up to the cooler, I immediately spy the distinctive "B" from Brooklyn Brewery on a bottle with a yellow and blue label. Hmmm. I've never seen this one. Looks like a hefeweizen. I'm running late, so I quickly grab a bottle of this stuff without examining the label carefully and hit the road. After all, this is a Brooklyn Brewery beer, so I know it's probably going to be quality stuff.
I arrive at the draft site. I break out my draft list. Thank God for ESPN and USA Today's fantasy draft cheat sheets. Otherwise, my team would suck because I have no idea who three-quarters of these players are. Laveranues Coles? Frank Gore? J.P. Losman? Who the hell are these people?
Just before we get to Round One, I decide to check out the beer that I bought. I quickly pour and take a sip, fully expecting the banana and clove flavor that is typical for a hefeweizen. But I get immediately get smacked in the mouth with sweet, hoppy bliss. The banana and clove character is still there, but it's backed up by a powerful hop presence and a nice sugary flavor that sits well in the mouth. For a pale beer, this sucker is quite chewy. Oooooweee! Very nice.
I finally take the time to read the label. This ain't no hefeweizen, kids. This is a freakin' bock, and a wheat bock at that. Who's ever heard of a bock made with wheat? Well, not I. Perhaps someone else has. What's more, this stuff is 8.3% ABV. Oy. And normally, bocks are lagers, but the label says that this is an ale, which hefeweizens technically are. I'm so confused...
So what am I drinking? A Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse. Turns out that this beer is a collaboration between Brooklyn Brewery and G. Schneider & Sons, brewers of the lovely Schneider-Weisse hefeweizen. Here's what the label says:
Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse is a collaboration between brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of the Schneider Weissebier Brewery and Garrett Oliver of The Brooklyn Brewery. Garrett and Hans-Peter have long admired each other's beers. Now together they bring you a new sensation, a pale weissebock robustly dry-hopped with the Hallertauer Saphir variety grown in the fields near the Schneider Brewery. Hoppy, zesty and supremely refreshing, Schneider & Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse is a delicious blend of Bavarian craftsmanship and American ingenuity.
Enjoying the hugely pleasant flavor, I finish the Hopfen-Weisse quickly. The ABV of this beer sneaks up on me quickly. I lose all of my senses and wake up the next morning with Rex Grossman as my starting QB.
An outstanding beer. This is on the to-buy list for tomorrow. I'm stocking up with several bottles.