Holy ****!!! Once in a while you find a beer that rocks your socks off. This can either be in a good way, or disappointingly, unpleasant if the beer is not your style. Fortunately for me this brew was pure beer ecstasy. Maybe it was the anticipation of finally trying a beer that I had been looking for well over a year, but this beer won my vote immediately. The bottling and labeling was classy and stylish yet simple.
Hopfen-Weisse is more than just a hopped up German Weisse. It is by far one of the most complex beers I’ve had to date. I’d say it was a three way cross between a German Weizenbock, a Belgian Saison, and an American Pale. This is one of three “big bottle” beers that Brooklyn Brewery in New York produces. All three are exceptional, but this seems to be the crowning gem. Their website (and back label) claim that this is a collaboration between brewmasters Hans-Peter Drexler of Schneider Brewery and Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn. They say that it is a pale weisse-bock fermented with Schneider yeast, then robustly dry-hopped with a blend of Amarillo and Palisade hops. A “perfect blend of Bavarian craftsmanship and American ingenuity”
I would whole-heartedly agree. They used German pilsner and wheat malts giving the beer a light body and straw-pale color (not as dark as a standard weizenbock). The hops used were Willamette, Cascade, Palisade, and Amarillo (a growing favorite of mine). The ABV is 8.5% so it was similar to the Duvel in that respect. Basically, it is a dunkelweizen brewed to a bock or doppelbock strength.
The nose was unbelievable. I got the impression of multiple beers all at once. While it had your hallmark Weisse aroma the dry hopping really boosted the appeal. I got hints of banana, cloves, yeast, pepper, bread, citrus, oranges, pineapples, peaches, light sweet malt, earthy grains (wheat), spicy hops, bubblegum, light vanilla, and floral highlights. The flavor was just as complex. I loved the yeast used because it was noticeably a hefe, but brought out more flavors than the typical banana and clove. It had a kick which gave the concoction life as the hops and malt worked their magic. The dry-hopping gave it the “American” aspect and Garrett did a great job picking hops that would give both a floral and fruity duo. The head retention was great throughout and the mouthfeel left me quenched. The aftertaste gave me much to think about long after finishing my tall glass.
Sorry for the long review. It was worth the time just like this beer is worth every penny.