Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Meantime Wheat, 5%

Completely ignoring my last post regarding 'the malt monsters' and hearty ESBs taking prominence in my autumn beer drinking, tonight I'm swimming against the tide with a bottle of Meantime Wheat. I recently had their Pilsner too, also terribly out of season, but who's counting?

Both this and the Pils come in nifty little 33cl bottles (sorry, no photos, I'm a technophobe at heart), almost like scaled down champagne bottles. Not that this adds or detracts anything from the contents, but it's always nice to see something a little different on the shelf.

Blurb. When studying brewing in Munich Meantime Masterbrewer Alastair Hook became fascinated by the complexity of the local wheat beers. Using a genuine Bavarian yeast strain to produce the characteristic banana, toffee and cloves aromas and with 60% wheat malt in the grist Wheat is a faithful and refreshing demonstration of the brewers' art.

Very lively upon opening, I had to quickly catch it and pour before it started flowing down the sides. This liveliness transfers to the glass with a typical wheat beer head in size, stature and colour - large, frothy and white - except it's very hasty in disappearing again. The body is a hazy golden orange with very relaxed carbonation.

There's the 'characterisitc banana, toffee and cloves aromas' as well as a wheaty, bready malt note and estery, citrus fruits with just a hint of yeast.

In terms of flavour, it's almost a mirror image of the aromas translated onto the tongue: dry fruity esters, some orange peel and a mild citric acidity. It's sweet and juicy but light to medium in body, thus it never overloads the palate.

Not much in the way of carbonation, quite a soft body with just that aforementioned dry bite. Really crisp, clean and refreshing on the palate with the merest suggestion of bitterness that's gone before you really know it was there. This is perfect in that it entices you back for more, making this an ideal summer sun beer.

Meantime Wheat is nothing out of the ordinary. It's a fairly typical German hefeweizen but this English attempt is nicely true-to-style. That being said, I think I would rather opt for a Weihenstephaner or Franziskaner if I were to session this style.

I'm not the biggest advocate of this variety, I much prefer bigger, heftier and fuller style beers, but something like this once in a while brings a refreshing change of pace - especially if I wasn't so unfashionably late.

Post scriptum. These are becoming more difficult to maintain than I initially anticipated.

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