Lighter wheat beer offers distinctive craft beer taste with diversity that people crave

(ARA) – When it comes to gathering with friends and family, craft beers are becoming a prominent guest. Craft beer has enjoyed double digit growth over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down.

As consumers tap craft beer for its robust varieties and flavorful offerings, American brewers are developing unique wheat brews that are further fueling the success of the category. While bolder, fuller-flavored German style beers have typically dominated craft beer selections, wheat (also called weiss or wit from its German and Belgian origins) beers have seen a sudden surge in popularity largely due to their lighter, refreshing taste.

The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, one of the largest brewers of specialty beers in the U.S., which offers four wheat beers in its portfolio of 11 specialty beers, said wheat beers are growing in popularity because of their crisp, drinkable style. “There’s nothing like relaxing with a refreshing wheat beer with great character,” said Jake Leinenkugel, fifth generation brewer and president of Leinenkugel’s. “Some wheat beers offer unexpected undertones of citrus or spice, which complements many dishes, from salads and shellfish to spicy fare such as today’s hot Asian cuisine.”

In addition to its Honey Weiss and Berry Weiss, Leinenkugel’s last year launched Sunset Wheat, which features a slightly fruity and citrus character, complimented by the gentle spiciness of coriander. The wheat brew, which was awarded a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup and the silver at the Great American Beer Festival in its first year, has quickly become the fourth fastest growing beer in the U.S. And, most recently, Leinenkugel’s rolled out its latest summer seasonal, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.

Typically slightly lower in alcohol content and calories, wheat beers are drawing more women to the craft beer category. “Our female fans tell us they like the way our wheat beers are presented with sleek glassware and fruit garnishes such as orange or lemon slices,” adds Leinenkugel. “They want to trade-up for a differentiated product.”

Wheat beers are best served in an hour-glass shaped beer glass with room for an ample head. Leinenkugel’s, celebrating its 140th year of brewing, offers these tips for enjoying wheat beers:

1. Party for one — Sample a new style of brew with one at your favorite watering hole before springing for an entire case.

2. Keep it clean — Any minute particles left in a glass — dust specks, lipstick, traces of dishwater grease, or the slightest film — can interfere with the flavor of a beer.

3. Prep is everything — Put some cold water into the glass, shake it and drain it. Then hold the glass at a 45 degree angle and fill it carefully. Leave some remaining in the bottle and swirl it lightly to get all the yeast in suspension and then top off your glass.

4. Get a big head — The larger the foam head, the better because it releases the carbon dioxide in the beer and thus the flavor and aroma, it also keeps the beer fresh all the way to the bottom. At least two fingers of foam is ideal.

5. Sense the flavor — Experience the beer’s sting or effervescence with your first sip. As it moves back into your mouth you’ll begin to identify other flavors.

For more information about craft beers, recipes utilizing beer or pairing with beer, tasting tips and availability, visit:

Courtesy of ARAcontent

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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