Monday, 3 September 2012

#77: Cheap as Wheat

As I'm in the process of replenishing my beer stock, I've decided to be economical and seek out only deals and cheaper stuff for a little while. The result is these two German hefeweizens from Lidl and Aldi respectively.

 Grafenwalder Hefe-Weissbier comes from Lidl packaged in a can, as opposed to the usual (yet baffling) plastic bottle. In Lidl and Aldi, you get two types of product. First you get the cheap, supposedly-lower quality 'Made for Lidl' offerings, then you get the big brand product for less money. This particular branch sold both, with Leffe and Hoegaarden alongside Goldstein and Excelsior. I feel Grafenwalder is part of the latter group; a brand that's cheap even by German standards. As such, I wasn't expecting much.

To my surprise, it wasn't all that bad. It pours a pale cloudy yellow with virtually no head, and smells like a standard hefe. Banana and citrus is there, but with a strange artificial candy sweetness. There's also a bit of adjunct-lager graininess. The taste is more of the same, but with a more potent malt character. It's not exciting by any means, but for the price it's a very sessionable and acceptable hefe. This is a German Hefe-weizen that's function over form, and there's nothing really wrong with that.

Aldi also sell a cheap wheat beer, this time in a bottle thankfully. €1.49 gets you a half litre of Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen in Aldi, a beer that pours a pale hazy orange like a glass of orange squash. This one produces a bigger, puffier head than the Grafenwalder, which suggests a potentially better body. The aroma brings up bananas and a sharp twang of yeast, a bit of lemon and and the tiniest hint of spice. There's a slightly malty backbone to the smell too. Surprisingly, this one tastes lovely, though the overly fizzy opening prevents much of the flavour from reaching your tongue, while the finish is all malt and fruit. Overall though, it's light and refreshing and would make a nice sunny-day quaffer.

These two dirt-cheap wheat beers have surprised me, but I look forward to getting back into the German Hefe-weissbier Premier League as soon as possible.

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