Erdinger Weißbier is an interesting looking German bottle I’ve wanted to try for a long time. But, my last attempted review was foiled by Tesco ending their stocking of the bottle days before I could buy one. Now, a little food shop on Bethnal Green Road has filled the gap and stepped in. Let’s see if it was worth the wait.
First impressions are that this will be the quickest look at the labels ever. That’s because it’s almost all written in German. That means the closest I can come to talking about what it says, will be admittedly iffy translations from the few words that resemble English ones. Still, that never stopped me before. So here we go. Oh, and if you can offer up any translations, do please leave a comment at the end of this post. Thank you.
The neck label is in a striking “V” shape. I could be wrong, and usually am, but it looks as though the name of the brewery is “Erdinger Weissbräu”. And that it is from “Bayern”. Is that right?
There’s a separate little label on the shoulder of the conventional, brown coloured bottle too. It could be talking about fine ingredients. But I can’t be sure. Can anyone offer up a translation?
The front label looks good. In a formal, restaurant menu kind of way. There’s a signature from… someone. At the top, there’s a year given of 1516. And at the bottom, we’re told, I think, that Erdinger Weissbräu has been a private brewery since 1886.
From the crowded block of multi-lingual text on the back label, I can, amazingly, find a few English words. They describe it as “Wheatbeer”. Which is excellent news as there aren’t nearly enough on the market. It’s also, apparently, a live beer, as the two words “bottle fermentation” make it onto the label.
This 50 centilitre bottle has a somewhat above average 5.3% alcoholic volume. Which is another thing I like about it. The full name of the German brewer behind Erdinger Weißbier is, apparently, the memorable “Erdinger Weissbräu Werner Brombach GmbH”.
It also has a satisfyingly complete list of ingredients. Which makes a change from the two-ingredient summary stuck onto most bottles. This one mentions water, wheat malt, barley malt, hops and yeast. At this point, my mouth is watering with the thought of Hoegaarden‘s magnificent taste. Just how similar this turns out to be, I’m looking forward to finding out.
Lastly, there’s a web address on the back label. www.erdinger.de takes you to their noisy German language website. A quick look around however, leads us to www.erdinger.com, their noisy English language website.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to opening this bottle and sampling the, hopefully delicious contents within. Expectations are high then, as I attempt to pour what is surely to have a gargantuan head.
A colossal head is exactly what I got. Even my biggest glass couldn’t contain it. As I write, there’s still about a quarter of the bottle left to be poured, and the thick layer of foam is only slowly turning into liquid beer. It does look fantastic though. And cloudy. Which is outstanding. If quite normal for a live wheat beer.
The smell is equally unusual. Compared to regular beers and lagers. The smell of wheat is probably fairly normal for a wheat beer. You can also smell some malted barley. I can hardly wait to see how it tastes.
A couple of gulps in, and my taste buds receive more or less what they were expecting. It tastes mostly of malted wheat and barley with a mildly hoppy aftertaste. None of which are very strong. You won’t be overwhelmed with strong flavours here. Nor will you be struggling to find them. I’d call it moderately strongly flavoured.
There is much that I’m enjoying about Erdinger Weißbier. The flavours and taste are very good indeed. The lagers that fill our shops make it feel like you’re drinking flavoured, carbonated water. But not this. Erdinger Weißbier has the sort of meaty full-body that is strong but not too strong. In the same sort of way that makes British ales or quality European beers so tasty.
What’s more, that taste and those flavours make it more drinkable than you might think. If you only drink lager, you’re probably thinking “that sounds like too much flavour”. But is isn’t. I’m about two-thirds of the way through now, and each gulp has been as easy as blinking.
What else do I like about Erdinger Weißbier? Well, it scores points for having character and being somewhat unique. How can something be somewhat unique? I know, there are probably other wheat beers out there that are probably similar to this. But I haven’t found them on the shelves of UK shops and supermarkets. And I’ve been looking for them.
What don’t I like about Erdinger Weißbier? At £1.75 pence from the shop where I bought it, it’s on the expensive side. I found myself burping more than usual, so it’s on the gassy side too.
Then there’s the flipside to the taste. I liked the blend of wheat, barley and hops, but it’s not what you’d call crisp and refreshing. It doesn’t feel particularly sophisticated either. There isn’t the same complexity of flavours as you might find in an ale for example. It also won’t be to everyone’s taste.
Where does this leave Erdinger Weißbier overall? With this opinion: a very good German wheat beer. I’ve really enjoyed this bottle. It’s a tiny bit like Hoegaarden, but without the myriad of different flavours. This though, to my untrained palate, is sold, quality, German wheat beer.
Definitely recommended for wheat beer fans. Recommended for fans of interesting European beers and ales. And recommended for lager drinkers who would benefit from a beer with flavour.
Have you tried Erdinger Weißbier? What did you think of it? And can you help translate anything on the bottle?
If so, leave your corrections, translations, opinions and recommendations in the comments boxes here.
And check my next post for a review of another bottle in the Erdinger range.