Posts Tagged ‘Austria’

Beer Review: Edelweiss Weiβbier

3 June, 2009

ALL too soon, I’ve reached the last of my three bottles of cloudy, live, imported wheat beer, from ASDA. Grolsch Weizen was Dutch, lowest priced and outstanding. Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier was German, more expensive and made with quality.  What then, will this expensive £1.99 pence bottle of Edelweiss Weiβbier from Austria be like?

Edelweiss Weissbier bottle 

To recap, wheat beer, especially the cloudy ones, are favourites. They’re some of my favourites, and, judging by your comments, they’re your favourites as well. But they’ve all been a little bit different. And that’s very good news for anyone bored of identical Pilsner style lagers.

Edelweiss Weiβbier is going to be my first beer from Austria. So, what am I expecting from the country that brought us Adolf Hitler and bizarre human enslavement, yet also Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Alps?  Will Edelweiss Weiβbier be a Ferdinand Porsche or an Arnold Scwarzenegger? I don’t know. Maybe the bottle will tell us?

Starting, unusually, with the bottle top.

Edelweiss Weissbier bottle top

German translators, do please do your thing in the comments at the end of this post. “Naturtrüb” must be something to do with “nature”. And “Hefetrüb” is something to do with wheat. I’m completely lost with “Obergärig”.

Edelweiss Weissbier neck label

What can I say about the neck label? It looks nice. It says the most important things like “Wheat Beer”, “Original” and “Import”. And it has the Edelweiss logo, which has a picture of some alps and the year 1475. Which is a very long time ago.

The main front label however is one of the most impressive shields ever stuck to a bottle of beer.

 

Edelweiss Weissbier front label

It has enough English language to let you know what it is. And enough German language to confuse you and remind you that it really is imported.

First stop is the crest. There’s all sorts of strange gubbins attached to it. Does anyone know the story behind it?

Most of the words around the border are self-explanatory. But, I must ask the friendly translators out there to help with “Hofbräu Kaltenhausen”.

All very symmetrical, precise and Germanic. There’s no details cluttering up that label. Maybe the back label has something a little more descriptive?

Edelweiss Weissbier back label

Err, not exactly. It’s all in English, so it must have been put on especially for us. And, it’s entirely made up of small-print details. No descriptions, no stories about ancient traditions by monks in abbeys. Just the clean facts. How very Germanic of them.

Still, small-print facts are small-print facts, and these are no less interesting. Edelweiss Weiβbier was brewed by “Brau Union Ősterreich AG” Then there’s an address with a possibly answer to the Hofbräu question from the front label. Has anyone been to “Hofbräu Kaltenhausen, A-4500 Kaltenhausen, Austria”? What is it like?

There’s a full list of ingredients. Much more interesting than the abridged version we get here in the UK. Under that is the full table of UK units of alcohol recommendations. The full thing. True to form, it would be impossible for them to stick to the rules and more than they have.

Then there are the vital statistics. Edelweiss Weiβbier comes in the ubiquitous 500ml bottle. It has an alcoholic volume of 5.5%. Both of which bring it to 2.8 UK units of alcohol.

And that’s it. There is nothing left to say about the bottle. The flipside is that we get to the fun bit quicker. What will Edelweiss Weiβbier taste like? How will it compare to the handful of other wheat beers that I’ve tried? Will it be worth the extremely high price? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Edelweiss Weissbier poured into a glass

Yes, yes. It’s not the right glass. I know. But just look at the beer. A magnificent frothy head tops the cloudiest of amber beers.

One of the best things about unfiltered wheat beers is the smell. Does it let Edelweiss Weiβbier down? Not a chance. The smell is every bit as odorous, rich and mouth watering as the rest of them. Crucially, is there any hint of citrus? Some of them have it, others smell more like a loaf of bread. This one is hard to tell. You can smell the wheat, but is that fruit in there too? It’s hard to tell.

So what does it taste of? A couple of gulps weren’t enough to answer the question. This is going to take a few more sips to figure out. A few sips later and I’m enjoying Edelweiss Weiβbier. It seems to be a straight up wheaty wheat beer like Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbie, not the citrus explosion sort, like Grolsch Weizen. There is almost no flavour, which is smoothly followed by a rich, wheaty and malty taste. No bitterness, but a lingering and very taste that clings to your tongue.

More than half-way through already, so what am I enjoying about Edelweiss Weiβbier? I like what it does and how it does it. The wheaty and malty taste is superb. It’s also different to the few other unfiltered wheat beers that I’ve tried. And that scores it marks for distinctiveness. Making it even more distinctive is just how light it is. With no flavour, the entire experience sits on the taste and aftertaste. And, unlike most lagers, it works. I also like how rich and full bodied it is. And, as is the way with these old continental wheat beers, how well made and easy to drink it is.

There are however, one or two drawbacks with Edelweiss Weiβbier. If, like me, you love the smorgasbord of flavours from the likes of Hoegaarden White Beer, you’ll come away a tiny bit disappointed. And, by having almost no flavour but immense taste and aftertaste, it’s a lopsided experience. Like standing on one leg. That leaves it an unrefreshing experience. And also one that’s heavy. I feel like I’ve just eaten a thick, if tasty slice of bread. And, as is the way with beers like this, get ready to burp.

What is the verdict on Edelweiss Weiβbier? I liked it. But that’s hardly surprising. I like all live, unfiltered wheat beers. What is surprising is what Edelweiss Weiβbier does to it. It goes down the wheaty tasting wheat beer route, and still manages to be different to the other wheaty tasting wheat beers. How did it do that? If you’re curious, then try one. If you can find it. And afford it.

Rating: 4.4

Have you tried Edelweiss Weiβbier? What did you think of it? Can you translate anything from the bottle?

If so, do please leave your opinions, corrections, translations, requests, recommendations and places to buy, here in the comments, every one of which I read.


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