When the mercury rises in the summer months, I enjoy a good Hefeweizen for their clean, bright and thirst quenching qualities. Made with about half malted wheat and half malted barley, they are bottle-conditioned and contain spent yeast cell that lend complexity and fruitiness to the resulting brew.
While there was a tie for third place, Kristin's first place beer was a clear winner, with tasters preferring its overall balanced qualities. Only one beer was not from Germany. Not unpredictably, Stephen's entry received no votes.
Since Sarah and Ali unknowingly brought the same beer, we poured the alternate I had available in place of one of the duplicates.
First Place: Paulaner. Brighter, more citrusy, with honey, and bubble gum. Nearly clear in the glass. Kristin noted, "more action in my mouth". Received 27 total points. Kristin's beer. $10/6 pack.
Second Place: Julius Echter. More hoppy on the nose. Very cloudy. Lemmons, fresh herbs, rose petals, cloves. Sarah noted that it was "more creamy in the mouth". Metallic on the finish. Received 19 points. David's beer. $10/4 pack.
Third Place (tie): Franziskaner (dunkel). Caramel, raisin, hops, bananas, lemons. Minty and floral. Slightly sweet and nutty. Considerably darker than the rest, this was the lone dunkel of the tasting. Received 17 points. Andy's bottle. $10/4 pack.
Third Place (tie): Kapuziner. Showed the most bananas so far . . . like banana boat tanning lotion or banana bread. Very cloudy, with honey, tropical fruits, oranges, cloves and a floral quality. Slightly hoppy finish, with some pine sap. Received 17 points. Ali and Sarah's beer. $2.50/bottle.
Paper City Brewery "Cabot Street Wheat". Chocolate, strawberries, grapefruit, and bananas. Fairly clear, and more red in color. Sweet attack, bitter finish. Lighter on the palate, with a thin, nearly watery presence. The only domestic beer of the night. Received 10 points. David's alternate bottle. $6.95/6 pack.
Schwelmer. Coming in a "clip-top" type bottle, this showed bubble gum, chalk, yeast, honey, pineapples, bananas, and cantaloupe. Slightly sweet and tinny. Straw color. No points. Stephen's bottle. $10/4 pack. Stephen later suggested, "maybe they brew it to suck".
Elderton Shiraz "Command" 1999 (Barossa Valley). Sourced from a single vineyard, this Australian exhibited a nose that tasters described as smelling blue and purple. Aromas of prunes, blueberries, pomegranate, vanilla, and smoke. Kristin felt the nose was like "squid ink pasta". Very dense, highly extracted, with a sweet attack. Flavors of blackberry jam, blueberry, espresso, bitter chocolate, vanilla and toasted oak. Slightly hot finish. From David's cellar. About $70.
Chateau d'Armailhac 1999 (Pauillac). Strongly musty nose, expressing barnyard "fecal" scents, along with dark soil, oak, wet leaves, and leather. Slightly metallic, with hints of blackberries and cassis. Astringent finish. Bordeaux. From David's cellar. About $30.