When people think about the ingredients that go into making good beer, it’s surprising how few ever think of the water. Oh sure, you’ll hear barley malt, hops, and yeast all the time. But Olympia Brewing doesn’t have the slogan “It’s the water” for nothing; good old H2O is obviously the most predominant ingredient by sheer volume. And while it may be true that water adds the least amount of flavor to beer, you still can’t make good beer without good water.
In that spirit, I give you Sweetwater Waterkeeper Hefeweizen. Truly, this is a beer that acknowledges the need to keep our waterways clean, and beyond that, gives you the beer drinker a chance to help support efforts to do just that. Sweetwater started locally by assisting the “Save the Hooch” campaign, designed to raise funds to clean up the Chattahoochee River. Sweetwater drinkers have helped raise more than a quarter million dollars for that worthy cause; today they help keep the water clean all over the southeast.
Here’s how it works. Sweetwater works with local bars and restaurants to promote local clean water campaigns. You buy a paper fish in whatever denomination you like that gets posted on the wall with your name on it. All proceeds go to the campaign. Sweetwater kicks in too, donating proceeds and beer for fundraisers. Here are the waterways your money helps keep clean:
Georgia: Chattahoochee River
North Carolina: French Broad and Neuse Rivers
Alabama: Black Warrior River and Gulf Coast
Florida: Gulf Coast
It doesn’t hurt, of course, that Waterkeeper Hefeweizen is a tasty German-style Weiss beer perfect for warm weather drinking. The beer is a seasonal brew sold in late spring and summer. I have enjoyed it both on tap at Taco Mac (where I bought a fish for the wall, of course) and in the bottle.
Sweetwater Waterkeeper Hefeweizen pours to a hazy yellow color with a towering thick foamy head formation and a light banana and clove nose. The palate is nicely tart with lots of crackery wheat and subtle hints of banana and clove. The refreshingly tart finish makes this a beer that’s all too easy to drink, quite quenching indeed. Waterkeeper is not an overly complex beer though it does have a few layers of flavor, more so if you swirl the yeast at the bottom of the bottle and add to your glass. Still, it’s a very tasty brew perfectly suited for hot Georgia summers.
Normally I would rate a beer like this at three and a half stars, but extra credit for the noble cause and reasonable price ($3.99 for 1 22 ounce bottle and $5 a pint on draft).
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.