Review Date 2/3/2013
Well, isn’t this a surprise. Here I am on Superbowl Sunday (a few hours before the game, mind you, to avoid the mad rush), and what do I find on tap but Weihenstephaner…Pale Ale? It’s true, my friends. Normally, I log into my Brewniversity account online before heading there for a few. And this time, I did just that. There were several beers listed I hadn’t had yet, and a few more I hadn’t had at Taco Mac.
There was, however, no mention of Weihenstephaner Pale Ale, which was the first reason that I was rather surprised to see it there. Still, and this is a big still mind you, my main surprise came from the fact this was a German Pale Ale. My friends, I’ve tasted over 4200 different brews in my beer-drinking career; not one of them has ever been a German Pale Ale. The Germans tend to stick to the styles they’ve brewed historically, you see, and rarely delve outside the box.
Thus, I had to do a double take when I saw this beer listed on the menu. The bartender confirmed the existence of Weihenstephaner Pale Ale, however, and promptly brought me over a mug of same. Before I get into the merits of said beer, let’s see what the brewery says about it. This is designated as a “Special Brew” for Weihenstephan, one of three actually. The other two are a “Weihenstephaner White Hoplosion” and a “Weihenstephaner Fresh Hops Finest”.
I believe these three unique beers to be draft only. They are brewed in conjunction with the Technische Universitat Munchen and sold under the Weihenstephan name. One assumes Weihenstephaner Pale Ale is Reinheitsgebot compliant. The beer has an alcohol content of 5.6% by volume and is brewed with German hops: Hallertau Mittelfruh and Hersbrucker. I paid $7 for a full mug pour of 20 ounces.
Here’s what I thought of the beer:
Weihenstephaner Pale Ale is a big candy apple of a beer, pouring to a hazy dark orange color with a light creamy head formation and a decided fruity nose. Carbonation is light overall on the beer. Taking a sip, the beer has a solid maltiness and form mouthfeel. It’s frontloaded with sweet chewy caramel followed by distinctive apple esters that work together to form the candy apple impression.
The hops only emerge at the last with a gentle herbal grassiness; I knew from the very first sip these were German hops at work. That also makes the beer interesting. The gentle bitterness lingers albeit faintly and balances off the hop sweetness. Not a very German seeming beer, and not as hoppy as your average American Pale Ale these days. Still, I loved the way the malt and fruit worked together, and thoroughly enjoyed this novel brew.
Can German-brewed India Pale Ales and stout be far behind? Only time will tell. In the meantime, Weihenstephaner Pale Ale is a beer that you simply should not miss.
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.