29 April 2011

KOTBR #126 - It's Stranger on the Southside

So we roundtabled, and then suddenly a very different sort of review email from Jason appears, and - because I'm now inspired myself - the following happens.

We often wonder if this sort of oddity is appealing to the folks reading, but I'll always contend that the best part about HBG is when this sort of thing happens.

So, a little known fact about our group and the types of reviews we do is that the format we go with is generally based on who is first to turn in a review. Imagine how exciting it is for someone who can't draw to do a review in comic format. Lucky for you, I won't be doing that.

Instead, I will just try and talk about the beers a little bit.

Note about the GAK: Membership is required if you will be drinking there ($10/yr)

König Ludwig Weiss - First of all, when you order a Medium beer at German American Klub, expect the second biggest glass you have ever seen (the Large is an entire liter of beer). Think fast food medium size, like "I shoulda got the small" medium. They are huge!

The website of the brand management for this beer says:
Our wheat beer, König Ludwig Weißbier, is brewed using traditional methods and is bottle fermented (the “méthode champenoise”). This produces a lively, refreshing beer with a tight head and flavour notes of apple and bananas, which is highly accepted in many parts of the world. In its home market, König Ludwig Weißbier is among the top 6 wheat beer brands and is widely recognized as a Bavarian specialty.
I'm pretty sure those folks know a little something about the Hefeweizen style as they've been doing it for, oh I don't know, centuries.

The weather was just nice enough for the four of us to sit on the outdoor patio at the GAK, allowing us to not only soak up some sun, but also to wear our new scarves (Oh hey, we have scarves now! Perfectly appropriate for the summertime). We sipped on beers and shared some good old fashioned German cuisine. The beer appeared to be typical of a hefeweizen: yellow, slightly cloudy, bright white frothy head. All of the typical flavors were present as well, bananas and clove in particular. This also had a slightly metallic element to it, which I will chalk up to the temperature as it dissipated as the beer warmed. The creamy but refreshing mouthfeel led to a little mustiness in the finish. That didn't bother me though; it was almost like you could taste the history of the brewery. And remember that HUGE beer? Did I mention that I finished it? 2.84 Mugs.

Continuing on our southside adventure, we stopped in at Oaken Barrel to see what has been happening there. The sun was beginning to fade, but we still decided to sit outside. It was a bit chillier than at GAK, but still well within our comfort limits. We were delighted to see the Uberweizen on draft, a specialty that is not on regularly, and even more so upon learning about the pitcher special. We happily ordered.

The style of beer seems to be a hybrid of a Wheat and Pale Ale. It seems to take some of best elements of both styles. A deep whiff encourages a soapy aroma to appear, but that changes to something a little more floral as the glass empties. The cloudy appearance and the banana and clove characteristics from the wheat beer are met with a citrusy punch from the hops portion of the Pale Ale. The marriage of these two styles makes for one great glass of beer. 3.25 Mugs.

Things are often funnier after I drink. And some funny thoughts came to me as we drank our beers. I doodled them down and realized that no amount of written word would make for a better review from me. So here is my roundtable review in doodle form.

Bier frisch und gut, schafft frohen Mut.

As the spring and summer approach, I being to start leaning towards the hoppy beers, wheat and weiss beers, and during grilling season, I really love multiple Würste and multiple German Hefeweiss beers. I've always been drawn to their lower alcohol, but still big on flavor. I am also hard pressed to think of a lawnmower beer better than a tall glass of cool and refreshing hefe. This was my first trip to the Biergarten at the Edelweiss Restaurant this season. Sitting outside in one of the only spring days we've had this year and drinking some good beer with good friends was really nice. This beer wasn't one of the best German hefes I've had, but it wasn't terrible. It has the markers of a great beer with notes of clove, banana, oranges, and wheat. It was very refreshing, but it was missing that big flavor punch I've come to expect from my favorites in the style including Weihenstephaner and Paulaner. This beer was just missing the Dude's rug. If it had that it would have really tied the room together. Overall though I was pretty happy with the beer, and I would certainly order it again. The German saying at the top roughly translates to, "A refreshing brew creates a happy state of mind." I would certainly agree. 3.5 Mugs.

Oaken Barrel's newest seasonal is another anticipated beer for me. As a south-sider, Oaken Barrel is always one of my go-to beers spots, and you can always find me there on a Thursday for $5 dollar growler fills of Superfly IPA. The Uberweizen was also spicy and refreshing with some great citrus and wheat notes. This is a solid beer for sure, but if you are looking for a traditional German Hefe this is more of a solid American take on a pale ale and wheat hybrid. 3.25 Mugs.

König Ludwig Weiss
Mike: 2.9 Mugs | Gina: 2.84 Mugs | Jason: 3.75 Mugs | Matt: 3.75 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.31 Mugs

Oaken Barrel Uberweizen
Mike: 2.85 Mugs | Gina: 3.25 Mugs | Jason: 3.25 Mugs | Matt: 3.3 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.16 Mugs

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