Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2018 (1071 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One of my favourite things about the craft beer industry is when breweries team up to work on special collaboration beers.
Recently, Torque teamed up with Minnesota’s Surly Brewing on a delicious Rye IPA called Callahan (available at Dauphin Liquor Mart), while last year Ontario’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing teamed up with a bunch of breweries across Canada for Canada’s 150 — including a collaboration with Half Pints for a beer brewed with rye bread called Killer Kvass.
The thing that’s best about collaborations is that the two breweries usually will use each other’s expertise to come up with something unique and rare.
I wasn’t planning on buying Braupakt by German brewery Weihenstephaner as I initially thought "oh, another Oktoberfest beer, this is a month too late," but no — this wasn’t an Oktoberfest beer released later than it should have been. Rather, this is a German-style wheat ale, a style that’s always in trend no matter the season. For this beer, Weihenstephan partnered up with California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing for this project. This marks the first time that I’ve ever seen a product related to the Sierra Nevada branding available in Manitoba.
Sierra Nevada was one of the first American craft breweries I ever thoroughly enjoyed when going down to Minot. Their Pale Ale is absolutely extraordinary and full on hoppy goodness. Sierra Nevada was possibly the first American brewery that made me think "maybe American beer can be just as good as Canadian beer," which is shocking, right?
Weihenstephaner is already one of the top breweries in the world for German Hefeweizens (wheat ale), so I’m expecting this beer to be a combination of German Hefeweizen with possibly a presence of recent American-style of beers, possibly something with a bit of a West Coast-like bitter hop profile to it.
Braupakt pours a very hefty, cloudy with an orange hue to it. For carbonation, I’m not noticing any bubbling taking place, but for the head of the beer I’m getting a moderate amount of snow white froth at the top.
The aroma is quite sweet and definitely reminiscent of your typical German Hefeweizen. There’s notes of bubble gum, banana, fresh bread, and the slightest hop profile that’s giving off a bit of a grapefruit and black pepper presence at the end.
The flavour of the beer is a good deal more bitter than what I got in the aroma. Here, I’m getting more of a pine and grapefruit bitterness right up front, which also leaves behind a good piney tingling aftertaste on the tongue long after the beer has been savoured. The beer is decently sweet, giving off notes of bubble gum, banana and clove — the typical flavours you should expect in any German Hefeweizen, as well as a bit of a bready presence that could easily be described as banana bread.
My prediction for this beer turned out to be pretty much on point to what I tasted from this beer, this is your classic German Hefeweizen with a hefty amount of bitter piney/grapefruity hops to give the beer a bit of a character you don’t see in most wheat ales. It’s not as bitter as your typical Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which I don’t recommend for those who dislike the taste of hops, but it’s hoppy enough to give it a "wow, I notice some pine in here!" before ever noticing any banana or bubble gum. This is an absolutely delicious collaboration that I’m glad I ended up picking up even after thinking "yet another Oktoberfest beer?"
The thing about German Hefeweizens is that they’re incredibly satisfying in any season, whether it be patio weather or hibernation weather.
Weihenstephaner/Sierra Nevada’s Braupakt Hefeweizen isn’t currently listed on Liquor Marts’ website, but it retails for approximately $6 per 500 mL bottle and is available at the 10th & Victoria Liquor Mart, as well as likely at the Corral Centre and South End locations. 6.0 per cent ABV.