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Beer Reviews

Whitewater Weizen

Central Waters Brewing Company
Amherst, WI

Style: German Hefeweizen

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Not good.)

Right on the heels of Jill’s well-received lawnmower beer article, I grabbed a couple of singletons of Central Waters’ candidate, Whitewater Weizen. Now, when I read the word weizen, I’m thinking it’ll be something along the lines of an authentic Bavarian wheat—weizen is, after all, German for wheat. Which means I’d be looking for those banana-and-cloves notes indicative of a German yeast strain, and a subdued hoppiness instead of the more assertive bitterness you would find in today’s American wheats.

As you probably can guess, I’m mentioning all this because what I got from Central Waters was not what I expected. Sure, surprises aren’t inherently bad, but when it comes to beer styles, your deviation better make the beer, um, better. If not, you run the risk of the dreaded Beer Dorks death sentence: one mug. It’s brought whole breweries down, I tell you. And I have never lied in my life.

The problem with Whitewater Wheat isn’t the pour, which is a rich, relatively clear gold. (The promo copy on Central Waters’ web site describes this as an unfiltered, German-style wheat, but the beer appears filtered to me.) The head is big, like a good wheat should be, but fizzy instead of rocky, fine-bubbled instead of pillowy. Still, not that big of a deal. The trouble starts with the sniff. At first I thought all was mostly on track—my nose seemed to pick up strong wafts of clove-like spiciness you’d normally find in a German wheat. But upon continued sniffage, I realized something was off. There was some spiciness, but it was more coriander-like than clove. There was some fruity/citrusy notes way underneath, too, but it was this weird clove/coriander hybrid that dominated the aroma.

All the same, I was still hopeful that I had a good thirst-quenching brew in the weizen glass in front of me. The front of the sip is way watery. Yeasty malt notes finally come up to fill the void, quickly succumbing to the same coriander-like spiciness that weighed down the nose. This spiciness continues to build all the way through to the finish, which is quite harsh given the style, almost to the point of an unpleasant, dirt-like bitterness.

I did not like this beer. The watery front makes it a good candidate for a lawnmower beer—if you normally like your lawnmower beers watery—but that perplexingly harsh finish almost makes the beer a chore to drink. There is no dearth of great wheat beers to choose from in the Midwest, so I see no need to seek out a Central Water Whitewater Weizen when you’re looking for something light and refreshing.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on August 4, 2008.
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