Hofbräuhaus Hofbrau Hefeweizen Beer Review

Hofbrau HeffeweizenHofbräu Hefeweizen gets it’s name from the state government in Munich, Germany, which has owned the brewery since the late 16th century.  Hof (court) and bräu (brew) comes from the brewery’s history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria.  For as long as Hofbräuhaus has been operating, it has been brewing in accordance with Reinheitsgebot (i.e. German Beer Purity Law).  The law states that the only ingredients that can be used in the production of beer are water, barley, and hops.  It is worth mentioning that yeast, which is a common ingredient in most beers, was not included as an ingredient in the original Purity Law because the impact of yeast on the brewing process had not yet been discovered when the law was first written.  While the law has been repealed since it’s conception in the late 15th century, many German breweries today claim to abide by the German Beer Purity Law for marketing purposes. On to the beer review!

Hofbräu Hefeweizen does not go out of it’s way to attract you with trendy packaging or unique ingredients.  From a marketing standpoint, nothing about this beer is appealing.  Unlike American “standard” beers – available for purchase at any bar in the United States – this German beer does not try to reinvigorate itself through market research (or, perhaps it does but fails miserably).  Instead, Hofbräuhaus relies on their reputation as being a premier brewery in Germany for the past 500 years.

Visually, Hofbräu’s hefeweizen looks like most hefeweizens – hazy and golden.  The haziness is a result of being Hofbrau Heffeweizen Headunfiltered.  Virginia’s indie-pop outfit, Wild Nothing, are clearly inspired by this brew judging by the EP they released last year – Golden Haze.  It poured nicely; leaving about four fingers of fluffy white foam on top.  The head deflated fairly quickly, but left a nice lacing around the walls of the glass.  Typically, hefeweizens are served with a wedge of lemon, but I opted to try this without lemon; and I’m glad I did.

This beer is quite drinkable.  While it is not amongst the best hefeweizens I’ve tasted, it certainly is the most approachable (i.e. I think a typical beer drinker would find this beer a pleasant alternative to the “standard” domestics).  Again, this beer doesn’t go out of it’s way by trying to lure you in with unique flavors and ingredients; instead, it tastes like what I would expect in a hefeweizen – floral with very little bitterness from the hops.  Additionally, you can taste hints of banana and citrus, which is common for a hefeweizen.  I drank this without any food accompaniments; but, if I were so inclined to eat, I would drink it with mild-flavored foods such as artisan breads, creamy cheeses (e.g. brie), fruits and smoked meats such as salmon or haddock.

Alright, so perhaps this is not the best hefeweizen; but, for the price, it’s an acceptable alternative to similar beers.  For those of you who have not tasted a wheat beer before, Hofbräu is a good starting point.  If I intended on spending an afternoon drinking a fair amount of beer, this is a brew I would be happy to have in my hand.

Rating: 3.5/5
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Paddy Pale Ale

The Wild Onion Brewing Co. Paddy Pale Ale Beer Review

The Wild Onion Brewing Co. was started in Lake Barrington, IL in 1995. An interesting fact from their website states that Wild Onion Brewing Company's Paddy Pale Aletheir name is based off an old Potawatomi word for the local land, “Che-Cau-Gua,” which means “the land of the wild onion,” or “stinking onion” when translated properly. On to the beer review!

Paddy Pale Ale claims to have been brewed in tribute to a couple of old rail-working, beer drinking Irishmen who wanted for a long time to start their own brewery. It’s an American Pale Ale brewed a hundred years later in their honor. It looked intriguing to me. I mean, look at the can; it’s cool, no? Those guys on the can looked like they were enjoying their brew, so I thought I’d give it a try.

After pouring it, I must say the appearance excited me. It poured a rusty orange colored brew with a bit of haze.  Sadly, all I can say is, meh. The beer smelled like Mandarin orange (the small ones). I almost smelt a malty goodness, but then it disappeared into a sort of hay or grassy smell. Then back to orange. For a pale ale it was sub-par I guess. I gave it the benefit of my doubt, though, and awaited my first sip. Again, all I can say is, meh. It tasted pretty much how it smelled, like oranges. This time I did, however, taste the malt. It wasn’t overbearing, the orange taste was though.Paddy Pale Ale head It was pretty smooth at first as well; with a pale ale I expect some bitterness. It came, but at the end of the beer.

As you can see, the look of the head and beer itself is very appealing. It actually looks like it would be a very good, refreshing beer. Unfortunately, this was not the case. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t the best pale ale I’ve ever had either. Basically, an average beer but not as decent as most average beers, if you can understand that. At 5.6% alc/vol, it’s a beer I want to drink after I’m already good and drunk. It’s a beer you drink when eating drunk food, the ones with all the grease.

Beer Rating: 2/5

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Goose Island’s Matilda

Goose Island Matilda Beer Review

Goose Island Matilda

 Matilda is a Belgian-style Ale brewed right here in Chicago by Goose Island. I was hesitant to even get this beer, being $10 a 4/pk, but I did anyway. I can’t resist a local beer review. Visually, the packaging is, for lack of a better term, intriguing. The sharpness of the label just made me want to taste it. I can tell you right now, I was not disappointed.

The appearance, like the labeling, is sharp. You can see through it but you can’t tell it’s clear. The color is honey-like or amber. Same consistency as amber, a light amber rather; you can see through it but you can’t see far. When the light shines through, it’s actually quite beautiful. Maybe designed to be a summer beer.

The smell is what’s complex. Malty. I smelt some type of citrus, maybe tangerine. Maybe orange peel. Yeast. I also got some type of spice. I don’t know what. I want to say vanilla or/and clove. I also tasted honey. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe some combination of honey and clove. Either way, it definitely worked. I also got some floral hops.

It actually tasted more like an IPA at first but it didn’t leave my mouth dry like IPAs usually do. I got the hop bitterness but the malt was more prevalent. It was sweet, not bitter. It tasted pretty consistent with the smell, malty. Definitely got the citrus flavor and some of the honey.Goose Island Matilda Head The elusive spice is also present, wish I knew what it was. Basically in line with what most Belgian-style ales taste like. I should say, however, and I am going to sound like a snob, but, it lacks something. I’ve been to Belgium, Brussels and Bruges specifically, and I’ve sampled the beers. Although this tastes similar to some, it doesn’t taste like what I would want from a Belgian brew. That being said, I will say that I want to drink this again. At 7% alc/vol it doesn’t fill the stomach or make you feel like you’ve had too many after just one, like many Belgian ales do.

I would definitely recommend this beer, it’s a great craft brew from a great local brewery. If you are looking to indulge, looking to get something a little more pricey, a little more exotic, get this beer. I should re-mention that if you want an authentic Belgian Ale go elsewhere, but if you want a pretty darn close substitute, spend the extra buck and pick up a pack of Matilda.

Beer Rating: 4.5/5

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Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA Beer Review

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA - Upland BreweryI had the original Dragonfly IPA, so when I heard there was a Dragonfly Black IPA I knew I had to do a beer review. Brewed wonderfully by Indiana’s Upland Brewery, it is one of my favorite IPA’s of all time. I really do like the selection they serve up, if you are ever in Indiana I suggest picking up a few six packs of whatever Upland brews you can find.

Komodo Dragonfly pours a very dark, frothy drink with minimal head. I thought it would be thicker than it appears, making me think it would be a bit easier to drink. I was right, the only problem is I thought it might have been too light. That’s OK. It was good nonetheless. The smell was a bit different from most IPA’s. I smelt malt, roasted malt. Maybe even caramel and chocolate. I was really expecting roasted hops or something to that extent. I smelt piny hops, but not as much as the other things I described. Maybe the hops needed to be more prevalent or even over-bearing to drown out the other flavors. When I think IPA’s I think hops, no I expect hops, that’s all.

The taste, however, made up for the smell. I tasted the hops and they were very well mixed with the flavors of the smell. I could definitely taste the malt and the caramel at first, but the hops came out more towards end to me. Maybe because that’s what I wanted to taste. Either way it worked. There is also a lingering taste of chocolate I think. Maybe even roasted coffee. I would have rather ended it with hops alone, but the mixture of chocolate and piny hops is a unique blend.

Komodo Dragonfly Black IPA Head - Upland Brewery It went down pretty smooth. It’s 6.5% alc/vol but I didn’t taste any of the alcohol. I would have liked a little more of a bite, though, like IPA’s usually display. There wasn’t as much head as I was expecting either. I really did like this beer and hope to find it again. They don’t distribute to Chicago sadly, so I will have to make a trip to Indiana the next time they brew a batch.

I would recommend you drink this with a burger. Your favorite comfort food will do, but I had mine with a grilled cheeseburger and it was great.

Cheers!

Beer Rating: 5/5

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