The Kirkland Hefeweizen (technically the Kirkland Signature Hefeweizen) is one of the four varieties of beer that come in the “Kirkland Signature Handcrafted Beer” 24 pack cases at Costco. The 24 pack includes a 6 pack each of the hefeweizen, a German lager, an amber ale and a pale ale (for more background on Costco, Kirkland and their contract brewing situation, check out our previous post on Costco entering the craft beer business).
Our hefeweizen for this review comes from New Yorker Brewing, the East Coast hub for the Kirkland beers. Our best by date was January 3, 2011, and this review was done on December 9, 2010, so we beat the clock. Of course drinking it after the best by date is okay too – these are well crafted beers (in case you were wondering).
Our 12 oz bottle of hefeliciousness came in at 5.5% ABV and 26 IBUs. For our review we used a Weizen glass (because that’s how you do hefes, our friends). Our starting beer temperature was 43.7 F.
For our initial pour we got a large 2″ rocky white head that left no head lacing as it dissipated slowly back into the glass. There was a lively amount of carbonation to the brew and the body was slightly hazy and a nice golden color. Good start.
For our aromas we got wheat, light floral, lemon, yeast, light bubble gum, banana, clove, light pepper and also a light metallic.
For our initial flavors we got a light sweet and very light bitter, followed in the finish by a very light sweet and a light bitter. For our tastes we got wheat, lemon, yeast, light bubble gum, banana, clove, light pepper and a touch of metallic on the finish. The predominant tastes in the profile are yeast, lemon and metallic.
The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is oily, the tongue hit is in the front and there’s no body lacing to speak of. On our malt to hop scale it comes in almost balanced – a half click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side.
For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and value. We got a no to harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again.
The beer is much better colder than it is warm – the metallic edge ramps up quite a bit as it warms up. Alas, it did not pass the 60 degree test. We’d recommend drinking it around the lower 40’s rather than the upper 50’s in terms of temperature. We’d also recommend drinking it fast to ensure it doesn’t warm up.
The Kirkland Hefeweizen is a deceptive beer – the cooler profile in the 40’s is drastically different from the warmer profile. For grins we did a second one quickly that stayed cold (we didn’t spend 45 minutes analyzing it to death like we did the first beer) and it was a much better experience. We actually got some floral notes in the taste we didn’t get when it was warmer. If you kept it cold it could almost turn our rating up a notch or two to a 4 or even a 5. Alas, we rate the beers going from cold to warm as a test to see how well they are crafted. Good hefeweizens can hold in there around 60 F.
All the elements of a hefeweizen are in this – yeast, lemon, banana, pepper – but they just don’t sing to us. Overall it’s a bit thin and just not that refined. Of course, for the price it’s still a heck of a value – the Kirkland 24 pack comes in at $18.99, or 79 cents a bottle. You’ll likely spend $7 to $8 for a 6 pack of Pyramid or Widmer hefeweizen, and this is just as good as those. Bottom line – you can do better, but this really isn’t that bad.
Kirkland Hefeweizen Rating: 3 out of 10 (?)
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