When people hear the term American Wheat Beer, they immediately think of Weissbier. They assume that American Wheat Beer is the same as the German counterpart, only made in America. However, that doesn’t give enough credit to this great beer style! In fact, the only real similarity between the two beers is that they’re made using wheat, hence the name.
Enjoy an American Wheat Beer
American Wheat Beer is one of the most accessible and versatile styles of craft beer out there. It’s delicious all year round, but it really hits the spot on a beautiful day in the summer. Wheat Beer tends to be lighter in color and it’s traditionally a lot hoppier than it’s German cousin. You won’t get the same banana or clove flavors that you might expect from a German Wheat Beer because these come from the specific yeast strain that is used by German brewers.
American Wheat Beers are also served unfiltered, so they have a cloudy appearance that might seem odd to people who are not craft beer aficionados. The cloudiness often makes people assume that it’s going to be a heavy, winter beer but it’s actually the opposite. Appearances can be deceiving because American Wheat Beer tends to be a refreshing choice for a craft beer.
Brewing Info for American Wheat Beer
American Wheat Beers are brewed with at least 30 percent malted wheat in the grist but often, the levels are 50 percent or higher. This gives it so much more character than beers that are brewed exclusively with barley and adjusting the levels of wheat allows brewers to experiment with a range of flavor profiles. Either ale or lager yeast can be used and it’s the difference in yeast that makes American Wheat Beer different from a Weissbier.
The Origin Story of American Wheat Beer
Even though American Wheat Beer is considered to be started in America, it has its “beer ancestry” origins in Bavaria. Craft beer brewers in America were inspired by the fruity, spiced, unfiltered wheat beers that were coming out of Bavaria and wanted to emulate them. When they couldn’t get hold of the signature Weizen yeast that the Bavarians were using, they needed to adjust their brew. So, they did the most obvious thing and switched out the Weizen yeast for whatever was on hand locally. This usually meant using the clean fermenting American Ale or Lager yeast. The result was a distinctly American style that has all of the complexity and flavor of a wheat beer but with a more refreshing finish. So, while the American Wheat Beer is typically compared to its German counterparts, is actually closer to an American Pale Ale than a Weissbier.
Why Try an American Wheat Beer?
The versatility of American Wheat Beer is one of the reasons why it’s such a popular craft beer style. It tends to serve as a great entry point for a lot of people who are looking to dive into the world of craft beer. So, whether you are a craft beer expert or a Coors Light drinker that is looking for something with a bit of flavor, American Wheat Beer is a perfect choice. There are lots of great breweries creating delicious American Wheat Beer right now, so you have plenty of amazing options to choose from.