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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Don't Fear the Wheat!

Rogues' Harbor Brewing's American Wheat Ale
When many beer drinkers (especially those newer to the craft beer scene) hear the term wheat beer they immediately cringe, expressing their distaste for that yeasty, bready, sometimes almost banana-like flavor. These signature flavors are characteristics of the German yeast used to brew the classic Weissbier style. This, however, is not true of all wheat beers. Wheat doesn't have a strong flavor in beer, adding more to the mouthfeel and the body. Many European styles of wheat beers get the majority of their well known flavors from that various yeast used during the fermentation. German's tend towards clove or banana, Belgians will get some of that clove, with spicy or bubblegum like notes. American wheat beers, however, are a different beast entirely. Outside of the fact they have a large portion of wheat used in the grain bill, they are completely different from their European cousins.

American wheat beers avoid those banana and clove flavors by fermenting with a very clean and neutral flavored American ale yeast - the same kind of yeast used in brewing of most American ale styles. The wheat gives a light malt flavor, pale coloring, and more body to the beer. They aren't afraid of hops either - many of the classic American hops are highlighted in the brewing of these beers (though not as aggressive as an IPA, they still are a fairly dominant flavor).

We certainly didn't hold back on the hops while brewing the Rogues Harbor American Wheat ale. While not as bitter as our pale ale, the finishing hops (the one that give the beer it's bold aroma) are on par with how we hop the pale ale. You'll get a tropical/citrusy flavor up front, with a smooth finish that doesn't come across as bitter as most American pale ales. The wheat gives it a thirst quenching quality, but keeps it from having a thin, or watery body. It's not a heavy beer though, perfect for sitting out on the deck, keeping cool on a hot summers day (trust us, we did some extensive field testing on this).

Don't fear the wheat! Don't assume that because a beer uses wheat it needs to taste like fresh baked goods. It goes on tap today and we hope that you'll give our take on the American wheat beer a try and that you'll enjoy it as much as we do.