Wheat Beers: The Breakfast of Champions.

The Weissbier, or Weizenbier is a German light colored, top-fermented, sweet, fruity, aromatic, specialty yeast wheat based beer originally rooted in Bavaria. The typical malted barley is almost entirely substituted with wheat, which when combined with specific strains of yeast, produces fruity, clove and banana flavors and characteristics during the process of traditional fermentation. Wheat beers can be filtered or unfiltered after fermentation which results in the Wheat Beer trademark cloudy appearance. IBUs for nearly all weissbiers rarely exceed 17-20, making them the least bitter style collectively. Foam heads are greater in proportion to most beers (except stouts and their relatives) due to higher levels of carbonation produced by the yeast strains.


Weissbiers are generally higher in alcohol than ales and lagers, and are served in special Weizen half liter glasses. These glasses are tall and curved to enhance the fruity aromatic characteristics that help give this style such an immense sensory experience.

Styles of Weissbiers

The Hefe is a main style of Weissbier that is unfiltered, giving it the quintessential cloudy appearance. These beers taste sweeter and lighter with banana and other fruity notes and aromas. Like all other weissbiers brewed in Germany, this beer is top-fermented. Hefeweiss means yeast white (or Hefeweizen meaning yeast wheat).

This is a hefeweissen brewed with dark malts (wheat) that give it a darker color and malty flavors. Also known as Dunkelweizen outside of Bavaria.

Meaning "crystal white" in German, a Kristallweiss (or Kristall for short) is a filtered weissbier that appears clear and crisp. There are still fruity and clove flavors and aromas present, albeit less pronounced.

A weizen bock is a strong cold weather (typically promoted as a winter beer) brew that is usually unfiltered and conditioned in the bottle. In Germany, the wort of the beer must have a gravity of at least 16 Plato (a measurement of a beer's relative density and therefore alcoholic strength), making it officially classified as a Starkbier (a strong beer in Germany). An alternative name for this beer is a Weizenstarkbier.

Weizen Eisbock
Weizen Eisbocks are brewed in a similar fashion to (as the name would imply) Eisbocks, and American ice lagers by a process called fractional freezing - the freezing of one or more liquids in a mixture of liquids with different melting points in order to filter out one or more from the other(s). Doing this to excess water in the brewing process concentrates both the flavors and alcoholic content of the beer.

Lambic (Pure)
Lambic beers are cloudy, uncarbonated, severely sour, aged brews (usually 3 years) that are only offered on tap in the Belgian towns with breweries producing it. A few bottled versions can be found outside of Belgium.

Fruit Lambic
Fruit Lambics are traditional lambics brewed with fruit (either in full form or as a syrup) during the secondary fermentation step. Most of these will use lambics as a base, but some brewers have been known to use nut browns instead.

This is a type of Lambic beer that is made by blending unaged lambics (<1 year old) with old (2-3 years) to produce a unique mixture, which undergoes secondary fermentation. These beers use aged hops to deliver bitter aromas that are similar to Pale Ales. The yeasts used during the special secondary fermentation give this style a dry, sour, musty, cidery, and acidic taste, and brewers sometimes add sugars to balance the taste. This beer style's high amount of carbonation earns it the local nickname "Brussels Champagne." Because of this, Gueuze is typically served in champagne bottles.

This is a type of Gueuze which is fermented a second time with the addition of soured cherries.

This is a top fermented style originating from Leipzig, Germany. This brew is made with usually half (or more) of the grain being malted wheat. It is important to note that this beer does not comply with the Reinheitsgebot due to its inclusion of coriander in the usual brewing process. These beers are usually in the middle of the row with 4 - 5.5% ABV being the norm. These brews have prominent lemony, salty, and sometimes herbal flavors, with no bitterness - attributed to the absense of hops. This style was first brewed in the 1800s. Although this is a rare style to come across, it is experiencing a resurgence in local areas of Germany.

This is an extinct style of low-alcohol wheat beer that was made from the secondary run off from Lambic beer style brewing. ABV ranged between 2-3%. It was produced commercially until the mid-1990s.

This is a low alcoholic, sweetened beer made from a combination of lambic and lighter, unaged, and freshly brewed beer (called meertsbier). Historically speaking, this beer was usually sweetened with brown sugar or molasses. Brewers may add herbs for aroma and taste as well. Today, Faros are considered heavier beers with less sugars and very little "lighter" beer added.

Berliner Weisse
Berliner Weisses are cloudy, sour, low ABV (3%) regional beers first brewed in the 16th century. These are usually brewed with a relatively low proportion of wheat (25-50%) and go through a secondary fermentation in the bottle for half a year or so.

A combination of barley and wheat (in varying proportions) supplies the mash for this top-fermented beer of Belgian and Dutch origin. This beer looks white from the suspended yeast and wheat protein particles (witbier = white beer) when it is cold. Instead of hops, these beers are traditionally brewed and preserved with a blend of spices and herbs. Today, some examples include hops in the recipie, combined with oranges and coriander, resulting in a citrusy and sour taste. Secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle for a short period of time.

La Biere Blanche
A French beer that follows traditional wheat beer brewing processes (French for "white beer").

Pale Wheat
These are mostly American made variations of original hefeweizens, using a majority of pale wheat malt as the grain. These beers share many characteristics with their European counterparts, including a fruity/banana like aroma, clove notes, a large, dense foam head, and a high amount of carbonation.

Dark Wheat
This is an unfiltered regionalized (American) version of a traditional dunkel, using dark wheat malt. These grains will usually give off sweeter, maltier flavors like caramel, toffee, and roasted/toasted notes. These beers are also medium light bodied with a high level of carbonation, a medium low viscosity, and a cloudy dull glow in the light.

These are strong wheat based ales which share many properties to barleywines, being high in alcohol content. These beers can use a range of wheat malt as fermentable grains which give off varied flavor and profile experiences.