Tonight’s Guest Beer – Innstadt Passauer Weisse

A trip to the local liquor store’s “Bomb Dump” resulted in purchase of four beers from Innstadt Brewing.  The Passauer Weisse is one of them.

The first thing you notice on the pour is this isn’t a Munich-style Weisse.  It isn’t white, rather red.  It isn’t excessively carbonated but generates a nice head.  The nose is rather sharp, almost acidic.  There’s no indication at all of hop aroma, rather a very light whiff of banana and cloves.  The scent actually reminds me of some of those old-fashioned banana creme pastries, the ones that look a bit like a Twinkie.  Sounds a bit off-putting but it’s rather pleasant.  The flavor is not Munich-style Weisse, either.  I’m guessing the red is a high percentage of Munich malt, giving the beer an alltogether nutty malt flavor.  Fermentation character is very subdued, a hint of banana and clove in the aftertaste.  Up front, malt and tartness.  This is, despite a healthy malt sweetness, a tart, dry beer.  The sweetness is esters, not sugars, this is fully attenuated.  It’s either decocted or dosed with melanoidin, there’s that much malt flavor.

If you drink one, rouse the yeast.  It comes in a half-liter bottle so plan on an appropriately sized glass.  Pour all but about an inch of beer from the bottle to the glass, roll the bottle gently back and forth to rouse the yeast, then pour the rest of the beer into your glass.  The yeast flavor is mild but quite good.

It’s a very nice beer, all things considered, mostly what I’d expect of a German beer.  Of course it’s been in the supply chain a long time and I’m sure it’s been mishandled, detracting from the overall impact of the brew.  I know a guy in Passau.  Maybe it’s time to make a trip!  Hello, Kyle….

It’s also a lesson in styles and what they mean.  This is a Weissbier, yet it’s as different from a Munich-style Weisse as a Kolsch.  Styles serve as guidelines for judges and competition brewers and unless this beer had a very good judge, it would lose points because it’s not what is expected.  It conforms to the guidelines and is genuine and should be judged as such.  I doubt it would be.  And that’s a flaw in “competitive brewing”:  It involves imperfect judges, myself included.

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