Editor’s note: this is the fifth installment in the monthly What’ll You Have? series. The fourth one ran at the end of May, so like a beer at the end of a long week, this is overdue.
You know what’s a pretty damn good and ‘sessionable’ beer? Sprecher’s Hefe Weiss. Sprecher Brewery, located in Glendale, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, produces a series of year-round beers and a magnificent line of sodas and seasonal beers. Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by Randal Sprecher, who previously worked at Pabst, and it’s been the pioneering micro brewery for the Milwaukee area, along with Lakefront Brewery, which started a few years later. The company moved to Glendale in 1994 to allow for expanded production. Sprecher offers tours at its facility, though sadly I have not been over to one yet.
As a matter of fact, Sprecher really outdoes any craft brewery or micro brewery I can think of in terms of the breadth of their offerings. For year-round beers, they have the aforementioned Hefe Weiss, the Black Bavarian, Pub Ale, Special Amber, Light and Stout. For seasonals they have Mai Bock, Oktoberfest, Winter Brew, and Summer Pils. For ‘Premium Reserve’, Sprecher offers Abbey Triple, Dopple Bock, Russian Imperial Stout, a double IPA, and Piper’s Scotch Ale. Further down the line, in Limited Release, Sprecher has the Generation Porter, Barley Wine, another Scotch Ale, and the Belgian Dubbel. In the Session Series, Sprecher has a Black IPA, Redhead Ale, Hooligan Ale and Hopfuzion amber. For good measure they have two gluten-free beers and a hard root beer.
My brother once gave me a case of various Sprecher beers for Christmas, and I distinctly remember drinking a Pizza Beer in that lot, which was actually a very complimentary beer for food, as advertised. Sprecher offers at least nine soda varieties, including their famous root beer and cream soda. Something I didn’t realize until today is that Sprecher also sells BBQ sauce and mustard in root beer and regular beer versions. They’ll also print personalized labels for their beers for you for parties and whatnot. The innovation and creativity at Sprecher is impressive.
As for the Hefe Weiss, it has a pretty moderate 4.2% alcohol by volume, which is typical for wheat beers. It was first brewed by Sprecher in 1986, so it’s a beer that’s been with the company since the beginning. Sprecher’s Hefe Weiss is a ‘coarse-filtered wheat ale’ which is ‘fermented with a German yeast culture for a refreshingly light spiciness and hints of citrus fruit’, according to the brewery. I like the cloudy haze of wheat beers and the foam aspect that is more prevalent with this style of beer than some others. Typically I believe that a ‘hefeweizen’ beer is not filtered at all, but perhaps, as with Sprecher’s case, a limited amount of filtration is performed for some wheat beers. ‘Hefe’ is German for ‘yeast’, while ‘Weiss’ is German for ‘white’. ‘Weizen’ is German for ‘wheat’. In any case, these are all terms used to describe beer that’s brewed with wheat and malted barley. Often times the beer is remarkable for its bright and transparent hues. Sprecher’s Hefe Weiss has hints of lemon or orange in there, along with perhaps a note of banana. It’s a great summertime beer because it’s not heavy or ridiculously potent. It’s an easy-drinking beer that’s tastes great. I find wheat beers are especially enjoyable when consumed outdoors. If you’re making a run, Sprecher, of course, is unmistakable in appearance with its squat one-pint bottles and the killer dragon logo. Hit up a Sprecher sometime soon and support a great Wisconsin brewery.
You know what’s also cool? This. At Dodgers games they have installed a machine that makes frozen beer foam (foam at 23 degrees) to keep folks’ beers cold at the ball game. Pretty cool, eh? I think they should try that out at Miller Park and see how it goes.