Ordinary Brews: Widmer Hefe

To start this series off, I wanted to begin with one of the most well known ales one can find in this area: Widmer’s Hefeweisen. I didn’t want to assume that this was their best selling beer so I emailed them to ask but didn’t hear back. I went with it anyway: if someone from Widmer wants to correct me, I’ll drink another beer. Promise.

The nose has a faint stinkiness to it; belgian yeast funky, almost. It went away almost immediately but then it reappeared as I drank further into the glass. I’m told by the guidelines there ought to be wheat notes, with maybe some spice hop character but I’m not picking it up.

The beer doesn’t really provide dominant flavors at any stage of the game, actually. Nose isn’t too strong, the wheat notes exist but I think the wheat malt is there more to provide some body. The finish is fairly clean until the effervescence passes and then there’s something sticking around that just isn’t appealing to me.

I’ve realized what it is: this beer is sweet. You know that sourish note that can come after you have a really sweet piece of chocolate? That’s what I’ve got.

I think that this hefe really isn’t an ‘all season’ brew for me. I can see this working on a hotter day, and I totally get why people serve this beer with lemon; the tart contrasts well with the sweetness of the malt. The lemon also contributes to the ‘summery’ feel of hefeweizen.

I don’t think I’d get more of this beer because I don’t know that I’m in love with this iteration of the style. I don’t hate hefes but I don’t think; Yay, gimme! That’s me, not an issue with the beer. The fact that it’s overly sweet is far more problematic. If I’m only supposed to have this beer with a lemon wedge for contrast, I’m not sure that I can recommend it. I feel like the sweetness that’s probably there to encourage the casual craft beer drinker is actually discouraging me from enjoying it, which is a strange spot to be  in.  I don’t want to suggest that my tastes are better than the average bloke’s but I cannot deny that the imbalance of this beer is off-putting to me.

Fortunately, Widmer makes a ton of other stuff that I do like; it’s just an interesting spot to find myself in.

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