Wheat Beer: From American to German, Beer Style Guide

Hefeweizen, wheat, wit, white. All names we are used to, but what exactly is a wheat beer?

According to BeerAdvocate.com, “Simply broken down, Hefe (yeast) Weizen (wheat) is of German origin and traditionally means an unfiltered wheat beer with yeast in the beer. It is often referred to as “weissbier mit hefe” (with yeast). Crafted with up to 50%-65% malted wheat, the remainder of the grist is malted barley. This addition of wheat is what gives this beverage a very crisp and refreshing profile.”

Created and mastered by the Germans, layering light and crisp taste together, making it a staple, not only in their culture but all over beer culture. Oktoberfest is a German Volksfest, all about beer and food culture. Oktoberfest is so large, it’s a celebration all across the world. That’s how serious the Germans take their beer.

Wheat beers have several different types, so let’s explore a few:

Hefeweizen: Literally meaning yeast and wheat, the Hefe is a mixture of the two, with a ratio of 50/50. Added notes of banana, bubblegum, spices, and apples are the usual suspects. They can range between 4.0- 7.0 ABV (UFO Hefeweizen, Harpoon Brewery)

American: Obviously, the Americans came up with this option. High carbonation and a strong head keep this style the same as the traditional German, although the regular flavors are absent. They use a high amount of wheat malt, with very little fruit in the taste. The Americans also made it popular to add the lemon wedge. 3.5-5 ABV (Gumball Head, Three Floyds Brewery)

Witbier: Spiced with orange peel, and coriander, occasionally brewed with malted oats and barley. Also referred to as white beer and wit beer. There is very little alcohol taste in the Witbier, and they are very mild. 4.8-5.6 ABV. (Hoegaarden White Ale, Brouwerij van Hoegaarden)

Blue Moon is probably the most accessible white beer on the market. Find it on tap at the littlest dive bars, and sold almost everywhere.

Try one, try as many as you can. You cannot go wrong with a good witbier.

Until next time, beer snobs!

Devon Kenney
Devon Kenney
A Washingtonian born and raised, trying to make my way in Indiana. A nerd from head to toe. In love with craft beer, horror, and Hall and Oates. Graduate from Academy of Art University with a degree in Screenwriting. Find me on Twitter and Instagram @Nightynight34