In late spring, a beer appears on the shelves that I buy the very first time I see it, no matter if I could get it somewhere cheaper. New Glarus Brewing Company’s Dancing Man Wheat is an outstanding beer and the only beer I buy in cases. I was first introduced to Bavarian-style hefeweizens while visiting a friend who was stationed in Germany. I’d never had one before but after my first bottle I was hooked. I’m not sure what about the style appeals to me so much. A great hefeweizen is thick and cloudy, yellow-orange in color, with a thick head. The yeast should be caked on to the bottom of the bottle. The beer should have a very strong banana/clove aroma and taste just a bit sweet.
In other styles of beer, many of those characteristics are seen as flaws. You generally don’t want a beer so thick you can almost chew it. Banana esters can be signs of either bottle, batch, or line contamination in almost any other style. The lack of any discernible hop flavor or aroma would be a complete turn-off in basically any other style.
In Bavarian-style hefeweizens, especially great ones like New Glarus’, all of those things come together to make a beer that is custom made for drinking in hot weather.
The American-style hefeweizen, on the other hand, is a foul abomination and a crime against humanity. The mere existence of that style is simply tempting cosmic forces to wipe our race off the face of the planet due to our obvious lack of good judgment. Every time you drink one, mosquitoes near your house produce twice as many eggs when they mate. That’s nature telling you to stop perpetuating the style.
After the kids are in bed, there is little in the world I enjoy more than pouring myself a Dancing Man Wheat and settling down to read while marveling again and again how great the beer is. If it wasn’t such a big beer (7.2%ABV) and if I wasn’t routinely drinking them in the evening, it would be difficult to the point of impossible to limit myself to just one.