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Our mission at The BeerFathers is to teach you to stop worrying and love the beer. Our secondary mission is to drink a lot of beer. Our tertiary mission is to give you ratings on those beers - objective, unbiased, opinionated, prejudiced ratings based on what we find good about beer. Take it with a grain of salt or preferably one of those big beer pretzels they sell in Munich. Those things are great.

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RateBeer Releases Their Best Beers for 2010

By John on February 27, 2010 (2 Comments)

RateBeer.com, one of the two premiere community beer sites (along with BeerAdvocate.com), has released their new Best Beers lists for 2010. They do this every year and it’s always a great list of beers to look through, reflect on and have unusual and violent cravings for. No surprises at the top of the list really, but it’s fun to go through and see how many of the world’s best beers you’ve actually tried (The BeerFathers have done 17 of the top 100):

There are more lists than the ones above, those are just the most interesting ones to us. Check out the entire 2010 Best Beers page for all the other lists (by brewer, by other countries, etc).

By contrast and for those interested here are the BeerAdvocate.com lists of top beers:

The session beers list is of particular interest. We’ve done lots of the ones on this list – no surprise to see one of our all-time favorite session beers – Young’s Double Chocolate – in the top 15.

Here’s to good beers!

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Widmer Brrr

By John & Dad on February 24, 2010 (2 Comments)

Widmer BrrrThis is another Thursday night review starring your favorite two people named John and Dad. We originally reviewed this on 11/20/2008 after each receiving some free bottles from Widmer Brothers’ PR firm to try out. Once we tried it and realized we didn’t really care for it we were somewhat loath to post it on the web site. You don’t want to bite the hand that sends you free beer – that’s pretty much our life mantra. But our journalistic integrity got the better of us and we felt obligated to finally post the review because that’s what we do – good or bad. You like how we mentioned journalistic integrity there? We’re pretty sure Widmer will never send us another free beer.

Technically, the bottle reads Widmer Brothers Brrr Seasonal Ale. It obviously comes to us from Widmer Brothers Brewing, which is located up in Portland, Oregon – one of the two most highly regarded craft beer states in the U.S. (along with Colorado). We used a pint glass for our review of this 12 oz bottle of free beery goodness. The IBU comes in at 50, the ABV comes in at 7.2% and our starting beer temperature was 55.4 F.

Our pour yielded a good sized 2″ frothy off-white head that left a good amount of lacing as it dissipated slowly. A really good start! There is a soft amount of carbonation in the sparkling clear perfectly amber colored body. It looks well crafted.

Giving the beer the old sniffy sniff test got us a good amount of citrus, including grapefruit and pine. We also got a note of spices and a possible aroma of toasted malts. That’s it. It almost smells like a cleaner you’d find under your sink to mop the floor (some people are into that!). The lack of aroma complexity follows suit in the taste – grapefruit, pine and orange are the predominant tastes we pulled out. A little disappointing to be honest – our heart was set on a good spicy, caramely winter warmer of a beer and it didn’t really deliver on that front.

The initial flavor notes are a light sweet and heavy bitter that stay the course through the finish but add a slight metallic taste. The finish hangs in there for a good amount of time and the mouthfeel is dry. The tongue hit is in the back, where all your bittererers are. There’s a fair amount of body lacing and on the patented BeerFathers malt to hop scale it comes in 3 clicks to the right of balanced on the hoppy side. One click away from as hoppy as you can get.

For our bottom line notes we got a no to drinkable, no to repeatable, no to harmony, no to memorable, no to wow factor and no to buy again. The only thing we could say was there was “some” balance in the taste with the elements, but not much. We even put a no to “receive for free again.”

Of course you know The BeerFathers are not hopheads – we love the malts. This beer comes in almost IPA-like, but not in a good way for us. We can get into some hoppy beers and have rated some IPAs as high as a 7/10 on this very site (see Dogfish Head, 90). But even those highly rated beers had some good malt backbone to balance out the hop shock. This one just doesn’t do that. The press release states that it “embodies the notable ‘Pacific Northwest style’ citrus hop aromas and flavor.” Makes us somewhat glad we don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, though we’d love to visit someday. As long as our hotel isn’t on a cascade hop farm, we should be in good shape.

If you’re a hophead get it and try it – you’ll probably love it. Don’t expect complexity though because it’s just not there. It does have a good alcohol content at 7.2% – what we’d call the low side of high, so there’s that going for it. The press release also states that “caramel and chocolate malts provide flavor complexity” but we just couldn’t find them. If they had ramped those up a good bit it could have balanced it out and made an ultimately much more interesting and enjoyable beer for us.

It would probably be much better with food, perhaps some holiday meals with lots of ham and various other accoutrement. By itself, which is how we rate all our beers, it’s just too hoppy for The BeerFathers. We think maybe a beer needs vowels to be good and the Brrr falls just a little short there.

Widmer Brrr Rating: 1 out of 10 (?)

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Panil Barriquee

By John & Dad on February 17, 2010 (No Comments)

A rare treat for The BeerFathers – a father and son in person review. No Skype, just two guys drinking some Italian beer together. Wait. Italian beer? Are you kidding me? Italian beer? How good can that be? Isn’t that wine country? Well, we’re here to tell you that Italian beer can be very, very good.

The actual name of the beer on the bottle is Panil Barriquee Oak Aged Sour Red Ale, which will be the last time we write that out completely. It’s brewed by Birrificio Torrechiara, which makes about 9 different beers with the name Panil attached to all of them. Our bottle is from 2005 and at $15.99 per bottle, it’s probably one of the most expensive beers you’ll buy that doesn’t have the word “Utopia” attached to it. For our 1 pint, 9.4 oz bottle you get a per ounce price of about 63 cents per ounce. Worth it? Yep.

Panil Barriquee is 8% ABV, triple fermented, matured in cognac barrels from Bordeaux and ours was bottled in 2005. We used a tulip glass for our review and got an initial beer temperature of 60 F. It’s worth noting that Panil Barriquee, though technically a beer, doesn’t drink like any beer you’ve ever had.

Our initial pour yielded no head whatsoever, just bubbles. This means there’s no rating for head appearance, color, lacing or duration. This brings up the bigger, more probing question – is it really a beer if it doesn’t have a head?

There is no carbonation in the body at all that we could find. The body itself is a hazy, translucent red with deep amber tones to it. For our aromas we picked up caramel, floral, earth (an earthy musky smell), alcohol, brown sugar, sour cherry, oak, plum, raisin, white wine and chardonnay. There’s loads of dark fruits in the smell and it smells suspiciously wine-like. Did they mislabel a bottle of wine as beer?

For our tastes we got brown sugar, sour cherry, oak, plum, raisin, white wine and chardonnay. Much like the smell there’s loads of dark fruits in the taste – sour cherry really jumping to the top of the pile. Again it reminds you of wine with the taste. The initial flavor notes are a moderate to heavy sweet and light sour. The finish flavor notes are a light sweet and moderate sour. Is it really a beer if it tastes like wine?

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is dry and the tongue hit is in the front. The dry mouthfeel really works with this beer – it’s quite nice and the dryness is really reminiscent of a good dry red wine. Towards the bottom of bottle we got a lot of cloudiness and a darker color – more towards ruby brown than the earlier red amber tones we were getting.

There’s no body lacing as you drink it and it’s just impossible to rate on our patented malt to hop scale – it feels balanced but there’s really no malts and no hops to judge balance on. It’s so very totally different from a normal beer. Is it really a beer if it doesn’t have readily discernible malts and hops?

For our bottom line notes we got Yes to everything we rate – drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony, memorable, wow factor and buy again. Wow.

This is just an amazingly unbelievable beer that you’ve got to try. Get a big fistful of money to go buy it, nay, invest in it. Even at $16 a bottle you’ll be glad you did. It’s hard to believe it’s a beer, it’s absolutely remarkable and one of the most unique beer experiences you’ll ever have. Share it with a loved one who also enjoys good beer and you’ll have a great beer adventure together.

Panil Barriquee Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Sam Adams White Ale

By John & Dad on February 12, 2010 (No Comments)

Sam Adams Seasonal LabelThis is the last stop in our journey through the Sam Adams Seasonals lineup. For the most part we love the Sam Adams Seasonals – they’re really good, sessionable beers that are generally more balanced than the heavy hitting Boston Lager that Sam Adams is hoppedly famous for.

The Sam Adams seasonal lineup goes like this, starting in the spring: Sam Adams White Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Sam Adams Winter Lager. All Sam Adams beers are brewed by the Boston Beer Company, which makes lots of good craft beers – seemingly a new beer every few months now – that cover a broad range of styles, alcohol contents and price points.

For our review we used a British pint glass and got a starting beer temperature of 44 F. The White Ale weighs in with a 5.2% ABV and our traditional brown 12 oz bottle yielded a generous initial pour where we got a large 2 inch creamy white head that dissipated slowly and left virtually no head lacing. There was a lively amount of carbonation in the gold colored, hazy body of our delicious looking brew.

For the aromas we got honey, wheat, floral, orange, coriander, spices, light grapefruit and a light ginger. There’s enough spices in it that they muddle together a bit and make it hard to pull out the individual notes.

For the tastes we got wheat, floral, grapefruit, orange, clove, coriander, pepper, spices and a light ginger. Our initial flavor notes were a moderate sweet and very light bitter that evolve in the finish to a light sweet, light bitter and light tart. You’d expect a little bit more hop presence, but even at the end it’s a subdued bitterness that is very light by Sam Adams standards (I’ve heard Sam Adams has a wall of tongues at their headquarters that have fallen directly out of people’s mouths from bitter hop shock caused by some of their other brews).

The finish length is short to average, the mouthfeel is dry and the tongue hit is in the back. There was no body lacing to speak of as we gulped it down. On the malt to hop scale it comes in one click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side – slightly hoppy, but not in the danger zone.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and buy again. We got a no for harmony, memorable and wow factor.

Overall it’s good for the season – it would probably be better for slightly cooler temperatures – think a New England spring season more so than a Louisiana spring season. But as a seasonal it hits the mark. Beer temperature-wise, cold is good – probably around 45 to 50 F. We wouldn’t let it get up to or past 60 F, as it does hop up a little bit more as it warms. We don’t think that will be much of a problem though as it’s a good, drinkable, sessionable beer that you could easily have a few of, especially at a restaurant with a good meal. Our hat’s off to Sam Adams for their excellence of execution in their seasonal lineup.

2010 Update: The Sam Adams Noble Pils has now replaced the Sam Adams White Ale as the spring seasonal beer. The White Ale is now a part of their Brewmaster’s Collection.

Sam Adams White Ale Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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Shiner Holiday Cheer

By John & Dad on February 3, 2010 (No Comments)

We’re back on track with our regular beer ratings and reviews here at The BeerFathers, after a long break in the beer action. Welcoming us back is as near to a “home” beer as we can get – Shiner Holiday Cheer – brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX, a mere 7 1/2 hours from our Beer Love Headquarters (West) in Bossier City, LA. Hey, you take what you can get!

Holiday Cheer weighs in at 5.4% ABV in it’s 12 oz glory. It comes in with an IBU of 22, very mild on the bitterness scale. We got a starting beer temperature of 43.9 F.

Our initial pour gave us an average 2″ frothy light brown head that left no head lacing as it dissipated quickly in our English pint glass. There was a  soft amount of carbonation to the clear amber red body.

For the aromas we got a bouquet of peach, nutty, toffee, grapefruit, dough, vanilla and what we could only call a general melon smell. The peach smell dominates, almost overpowers, the beer. There’s also a bitter tinge reminiscent of a pecan not quite shelled all the way. Not that this is bad by any means, it is an interestingly nice smelling beer.

For the tastes we got peach, nutty (specifically pecan), toffee, grapefruit and again with the general melon. There is a nice pecan action to the taste that we dig. The initial flavor notes are moderately sweet, light bitter and a light to moderate tart. The finish flavor notes are a light sweet, moderate bitter and light tart.

The finish length is average, the mouthfeel is oily and the tongue hit is in the middle. There’s really no body lacing to speak of. It comes in perfectly balanced on our patented malt to hop scale.

For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance, harmony and buy again. No to memorable and wow factor.

We feel like this one is positioned all wrong. It would be a good late summer beer, in the same vain as the Dogfish Head Aprihop, but it isn’t a great “Christmas” beer for us. It would be great for when it’s cool to warm out, not when it’s 30 degrees. It’s a good seasonal stuck in the wrong season.

Of course, in Shiner, TX it may be 65 degrees at Christmas, so touche.

Shiner Holiday Cheer Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

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So Long Dr Beer Love – Hello The BeerFathers

By John on January 26, 2010 (4 Comments)

Starting today you’ll notice a slight change here at Beer Love central – we are now no longer known as Dr Beer Love. We are now officially The BeerFathers.

Why, you ask? Well, it’s a long story but here goes…

Back on November 13, 2009, we got an email from Jay Hersh, who politely said we may be infringing on a trademark he owns for the name “Dr Beer.” It was nice enough and essentially said “Hey you’re probably unaware of the trademark, but I’ve had it since 1997 and I use it in conjunction with my beer tasting classes. Dr Beer Love and Dr Beer could be confusingly similar to someone so please be cool and stop using the name.” We appreciated his courteous approach and the fact that he came to us directly himself instead of through his lawyers.

So we emailed back and forth a few times to try to work things out in a way where we could keep the name and the web site address, but Jay felt strongly that if we said something that was libelous it could come back to him somehow. Rather than go to court or fight it out we agreed to change the name. Getting lawyers involved is rarely the right answer and on top of that we had been wanting to move the site from it’s Movable Type backend to WordPress for a while anyway, so it gave us a good opportunity to do that.

So we worked with Jay to come to a compromise of terms that benefited both sides. On our end we:

  • Offered to put some text on the top of every page of the Dr Beer Love site that said “Note: Dr. Beer® is a registered trademark of Jay Hersh. We are currently working together to rectify any confusion over the name.” This linked over to his site and was our short term transition plan.
  • Offered to design a logo for him to use for “Dr Beer” as he didn’t currently have one.
  • Asked for a few months to find a new name, move the site into the new system and remove references of “Dr Beer” from the site.

On Jay’s end he:

  • Offered to let us redirect the Dr Beer Love site to the new site once we had transitioned it over.
  • Offered to write some guest blog spots for us on the new site.
  • Offered to let us work with his wife to do trade name research for whatever new name we used.

We didn’t wind up taking him up on his offer for the trade name research (too generous on his part really) but we did do the research ourselves and are clean and clear. Everything else we did. We thank Jay for working with us and it goes to show that you can really think win-win and work things out together if you just treat each other kindly and respectfully. It’s kind of refreshing in our sue-happy culture that things can still be worked out without legal involvement and both sides can come away feeling better for it. I think the fact that we’re both good beer lovers was a common ground that we both connected through. I’ve always said craft beer lovers are some of the easiest going people you’d want to meet and this whole interaction just proves that crafties are good people.

Now how did we come up with the new name? We put together a list of a few good ones following the same criteria for the old one – we wanted it beer focused, yet somehow related to classic movies. You may or may not have known that Dr Beer Love was named for the movie Dr Strange Love and you may or may not know that we love the classic movies (so much that Son Beer Love is working on watching every one the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films of all-time – 57 down, 43 left to watch). We also, as an added bonus, wanted to give a nod to our status as fathers, since Son Beer Love became a father last March. So when we started working on putting the names together (Citizen Beer Love, BeerFellas, etc) one immediately jumped to the top of the list – The BeerFathers (for the movie The Godfather).

We wanted some input on it so we asked a few of our favorite beer bloggers (The Beer Babe and The Beer Wench) for some input on the list of names and they all voted on the same one – The BeerFathers. They said it really fit our personality and niche in the beer space. Who could argue? We checked to make sure there were no possible trademark conflicts and registered the domain name. We had our brand.

Then we spent what little free time we had in December and January working on transitioning the site over – we designed a new logo with an actual font called “The Godfather” and figured out all the programming challenges of getting the site moved from Movable Type to WordPress (we have always been happy with the site we designed so we wanted it to look the same). Once we got all the challenges figured out we exported the Dr Beer Love site (175 posts, 77 categories and 346 comments) and imported it into WordPress (the easiest step, actually), did a search and replace on all the names and then set up every page of the old Dr Beer Love site to find the appropriate new page on The BeerFathers site (so if someone tried to go to the Abita Turbodog review on Dr Beer Love, say through a Google search, they would immediately get redirected to the Abita Turbodog review on The BeerFathers, instead of having to search for it – it’s a good courtesy for all the search users out there). Once we felt confident everything was set up correctly we “flipped the switch” so to speak and started sending all the traffic to the new site.

So in a little over two months we were able to rebrand and completely move the site over. And that’s how we became The BeerFathers. We’ve got a backlog of about 50 reviews to get on the site and we’ll be working on that with a lot of new content planned for 2010. We also added a few features to the site that we’ll write more about soon that we think you’ll really like. In the meantime we say “Cheers and good beers!”

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Top 10 Reasons To Become A Craft Beer Drinker

By Dad on September 18, 2009 (1 Comment)

There are lots of reasons to become a craft beer drinker, or craftie as we call it. Here’s the top ten:

  1. Start up for under $15.00.
  2. Requires no expensive equipment or membership dues.
  3. It’s no impact and no stress on the joints. Except for an occasional bar fight between the malt mad-men and the hopheads.
  4. It can be done with or without clothes. In public always wear clothes.
  5. You can expand your circle of friends, many of whom may be able to stand up without assistance.
  6. Makes others seem more attractive. See Beer Goggles.
  7. You get to keep a Beer Journal. While others keep their life in a journal, you don’t need no stinking life – you’ve got something better: BEER.
  8. You can reduce the effects or even cure FBS, Flat Belly Syndrome, so that when you bend over to tie your shoes you get light headed like a real adult.
  9. You can be every bit as snotty as a wine snot.
  10. When you meet a fellow craftie you will be able to talk for hours about beer, thereby boring anybody in ear shot to death.

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New Beer Legislation 2009

By Dad on September 15, 2009 (No Comments)

While the executive and legislative branch is on vacation John and I have taken this time to pass more common sense legislation. This is our first since the Hefeweizen Rule of 2008 which was the first common sense legislation since the No Good Beer Left Behind Act of 2004.

This time we decided to work on nutrition. We thought the nutrition guidelines were way too complicated and confusing and had the wrong priorities. Our first priority was of course BEER. Another food group that deserves its own designation was of course BBQ. We thought this was pretty complete but it left out a lot of other stuff. We thought we would group everything else together.

While discussing this with a friend at work a lady customer suggested that we had left out something very basic that deserved its own category so I have included her suggestion in the final legislation. Thanks from us.

NEW NUTRITION GUIDELINES 2009

  1. BEER AND BEER RELATED SNACKS
  2. BBQ AND ALL SIDE DISHES RELATED TO BBQ
  3. CHOCOLATE
  4. OTHER (everything else)

Covers everything don’t it? What will we pass next year during the August recess? Damned if we know but at least it will make sense.

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McEwans Scotch Ale

By Dad on August 2, 2009 (13 Comments)

Old Father Beer Love (Grandfather) had to pull a couple of night shifts at Beer Love Medical Center. At my advanced age I don’t do night pediatrics anymore and leave that up to son (Dad) Beer Love now. Tonight I’ll take over the new crop of Beer Love Interns on the night shift. What do you mean you “feel” that Imperial Stout is 55F? This ain’t sensitivity training and you’re not Dr. Phil, you have an instrument, check its temperature. The reason the head on your beer ran over the top of the glass is you’re using a pilsner glass not a weisen glass for your Hefe. People, what did you study in undergraduate school? Temperance. You should have been doing keggers. Focus!

While taking a break, I reached way back in the Beer Love larder and found a bottle of McEwans Scotch Ale. I actually bought it 1 year and 10 days ago at CPWM for $1.89 and held it maybe too long, we will see.

This style is scotch ale also called a wee heavy and brewed by Scottish Courage LTD in Edinburg, Scotland. It has an ABV of 8%. I used a pint glass and got a starting temp. of 55.0F-12.9C. I got a 2 1/2 inch large foamy light brown head that dissipated slowly with fair head lacing. There was little carbonation, the color was ruby brown that was a clear dark. Aromas were light caramel, cereal, light alcohol, light brown sugar, light smoke and light soy sauce (7). Tastes were barley, light caramel, cereal, light chocolate, light coffee, light honey, light nutty, light toasted, light brown sugar, light sherry, smoke and soy sauce (12). Initial flavors were a moderate sweet, finish flavors were a moderate to heavy sweet, a very light bitter and a light salty. Finish length was short, mouthfeel was oily and tongue hit was front to middle. It had fair body lacing and on our malt to hop scale I gave it a 2 which is almost all the way to the malt side. For the bottom line I got a yes to drinkable, so-so to repeatable due to the ABV, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again all got a yes. Wow factor got a so-so.

This beer is a malt lovers delight. The light bitterness at the finish may not have even been hops (many scotch ales use other botanicals for bitterness like heather). By mid glass I was at 62F and think this is really a 65-70 degree beer as it just keeps getting better as it warms. I also gave it The BeerFathers “Best Buy Award” for combining quality and price.

I have to check up on the interns now. The reason that the skin on your palm is torn and your hand hurts is that it is a crown cap, not a twist off. We issue you an opener and hang it on a chain around your neck (just like Cool Hand Luke) so use it. What do you mean you never heard of Cool Hand Luke? What kind of education have you had? It’s going to be a long night.

Note: In July 2008 some troll in Heineken, which bought Scottish Courage LTD and also Newcastle, “delisted” this fine ale. It is no longer available in this country. DAMM!!!!

McEwans Scotch Ale Rating: 8 out of 10 (?)

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Hefe Madness – Finals – Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse vs. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

By John on June 25, 2009 (1 Comment)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Finals

Hefe Madness Finals

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse comes in as the number three seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.49/each.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen comes in as the number four seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

This is a very exciting finals match up. These two beers are so evenly matched up at both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer that we had to make up some way to distinguish which one should get the higher seeding in the tournament. In the end we settled on the Franziskaner due to having more reviews at BeerAdvocate and costing 50 cents less per bottle. A better bargain means a higher seed, with all things considered. Since we’ve already written up tasting notes on this and all the other beers, we’ll forgo reprinting them here and just present how the beers stack up against each other. It’s worth noting we did these beers in the finals blind and rated them as “beer left” and “beer right” as the other person served the beers and the drinker had no knowledge of which one was which until the winner was selected.

John’s Notes

The Franziskaner has a sharper smell to it with more citrus and less banana. The taste is nice and citrusy and overall it’s smoother than the Paulaner – very vibrant and refreshing. Overall the Franziskaner, as it warms, starts to get a nice banana bread character to it. The Paulaner is slightly darker and the banana and yeast jump out right away with only a slight citrus note. It’s bready with possibly more lemon in the taste and a good balance. Initially I thought it was Paulaner that was the winner but the closer to the bottom of the glasses I get the more I’m considering Franziskaner. They’re awfully close and it’s tough to call.

Josh’s Notes

The Paulaner comes in with a nice fruity, bubble gum aroma and a good peppery edge to it. The Franziskaner hedges a little more to lemon and pepper on the aroma and a good smooth banana in the taste. It’s got some banana bread tones that are nice. It was my choice after the first drink and since they’re so close it remains my choice.

Final Notes & Our Decision

We debated back and forth, with this being the closest competition we’ve had in the whole tournament and the only one where at the end of drinking the beers we didn’t have a clear winner that we both easily agreed on. Let’s face it, they’re both great beers. In the end the banana bread tones in the Franziskaner beat out the Paulaner by an ever so slim margin for us. Couple that with the lower price tag on the Franziskaner ($1.49 a bottle versus $1.99 a bottle for the Paulaner) and we have another plus in that column. The Franziskaner is slightly better overall and a better value. Ladies and gentlemen, we have our winner.

Winner: (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 7

This concludes our Hefe Madness tournament. If you want to drink the hefe we thought was good enough to win a tournament of hefeweizens go pick yourself up some Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse – it remains one of our favorite hefes in the world.

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Hefe Madness – Semifinals – Ayinger Brau-Weisse vs. Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

By John on June 14, 2009 (No Comments)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Semifinals, Beer Battle 2

Hefe Madness Semifinals, Battle 2

Ayinger Brau-Weisse comes in as the number two seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 92 rating at RateBeer.com. The 500 mL bottles cost $3.49/each.

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse comes in as the number three seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.49/each.

This is the conclusion to a great semifinals as the second set of winners from round 1 go head-to-head. We didn’t record any actual notes with this review, instead opting to just drink unencumbered and pick a winner. It’s worth noting we did these beers in the semifinals and finals blind and voted on them strictly as “beer left” and “beer right” as the other person served the beers and the drinker had no knowledge of which one was which until the winner was selected. That said, we both enjoyed the Franziskaner beer just a little bit more, though for sake of review here we can’t tell you exactly why.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have another upset – a number 3 seed knocks off a number 2 seed. Our hefe madness finals are now set!

Winner: (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 6

Next time: (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse vs. (4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.

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Hefe Madness – Semifinals – Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier vs. Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

By John on June 6, 2009 (No Comments)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Semifinals, Beer Battle 1

Hefe Madness Semifinals, Battle 1

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier comes in as the number one seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 95 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen comes in as the number four seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

This is the start of a great semifinals as we put the two winners from round 1 head-to-head. There’s only German hefes left now and they are all highly rated and critically acclaimed. There’s very little difference between the beers at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, so this should be fun. Since we’ve already written up tasting notes on this and all the other beers, we’ll forgo reprinting them here and just present how the beers stack up against each other. It’s worth noting we did these beers in the semifinals and finals blind and rated them as “beer left” and “beer right” as the other person served the beers and the drinker had no knowledge of which one was which until the winner was selected.

Video Notes

John’s Notes

The Paulaner has bolder flavors than the Weihenstephaner – stronger citrus, pepper and spices. It also has a strong citrus aroma to it. It also sports a better mouthfeel – more refined and thicker, closer to buttery. The Weihenstephaner has great notes to it with citrus and banana, a bit more yeast in the smell, but it has a lighter overall taste. Some people may prefer that but I’m looking for a hefe with some flavor to it. Advantage: Paulaner.

Josh’s Notes

The initial taste on the Weihenstephaner has more spices to it, with the banana coming forward on the second drink. On a big gulp the banana and citrus come through, on a double gulp it’s not as refreshing. For the Paulaner there’s a nice spice bouquet and a general smoothness to the first taste. On a big gulp it’s got a nutty and smooth edge to it and on the double gulp there’s a buttery, creamy smooth mouthfeel to it. The rally shot is still smooth with some biscuit notes coming through. Advantage: Paulaner.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have our upset special – a number 4 seed knocks off a number 1 seed.

Winner: (4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 5

Next time: (2) Ayinger Brau-Weisse vs. (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse.

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Hefe Madness – Round 1 – Paulaner Hefe-Weizen vs. Erdinger Weissbier

By John on May 26, 2009 (No Comments)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Round 1, Beer Battle 4

Hefe Madness Round 1, Battle 4

Paulaner Hefe-Weizen comes in as the number four seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

Erdinger Weissbier comes in as the number five seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “B” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 53 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $2.39/each.

This is the final match up from round 1 and on paper is the closest as the number 4 seed faces the number 5 seed. This is where upsets tend to happen in March Madness, so who knows what to expect? We do have two German hefes battling it out so anything can happen. The ratings difference at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer both favor Paulaner, but individual tastes vary.

(5) Erdinger Weissbier

The Erdinger Weissbier gave us a huge 4″ foamy white head that left a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated very slowly. There was a medium to lively amount of carbonation and the straw to yellow body had just a slight cloudiness to it.

The aromas came at us with biscuit, lemon, some nondescript citrus, light banana and some pepper. The flavors really didn’t ring true though and hit us with the nondescript citrus, soap, pepper and some cardboard. Not balanced and not memorable at all.

There just isn’t a lot of taste in this one. What’s there is very light and not too impressive. And as it warms it gets a wet cardboard and soapy smell and the taste just blands out. I don’t think it’s crafted too well at all. It makes no statement and tastes like a generic beer, like the bottle should just say BEER on the side of it – like an American macro nothing beer. Where’s the complexity?

Overall score for the Erdinger: 3 out of 10

(4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

The Paulaner gave us a nice large 3″ foamy white head on our initial pour that left a fair amount of head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There was little to no carbonation to speak of and there was a good murky haze to the yellow/gold body.

The aromas were biscuit, light lemon, orange, banana, bubble gum and pepper. A good nose to it all told. The flavors were biscuit, light caramel, toffee, lemon, orange, banana and pepper. A winner of a flavor profile.

It’s a very strong hefe with good tastes that make you think there’s something more lurking in there. Much bolder than the Erdinger and the bubble gum starts showing up in the smell more as it warms. It’s got a nice caramel/toffee edge to it as it warms. A real taste sensory cyclone.

Overall score for the Paulaner: 7 out of 10

Winner: (4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 4

Next time: (1) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier vs. (4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.

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Hefe Madness – Round 1 – Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse vs. Arcobrau Weissbier

By John on May 18, 2009 (No Comments)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Round 1, Beer Battle 3

Hefe Madness Round 1, Battle 3

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse comes in as the number three seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 90 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.49/each.

Arcobrau Weissbier comes in as the number six seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “B” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 49 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.99/each.

This should be a pretty good matchup, as we pit two German hefes against each other. The ratings difference at BeerAdvocate is small (A- vs B), but there’s a bigger gap at RateBeer (90 vs 49). We’re excited for this one and drank these outside on the deck in the sun.

(6) Arcobrau Weissbier

The Arcobrau Weissbier gave us a large 3″ creamy off-white head that left no head lacing as it dissipated slowly. There was a little bit of carbonation and the gold body was slightly murky – the sure sign that the hefe is made correctly.

The aromas came in with light caramel, orange and some other nondescript citrus, yeast and banana. The flavors gave us a switch from caramel to toffee, but the other aromas didn’t stand out too much in the flavor. On the malt to hop scale it came in a little to the left of balanced on the malty side and for our bottom line notes we got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance and buy again. We got a no for harmony, memorable and wow factor.

The toffee pops up in the aftertaste nicely but the rest of the taste just isn’t that complex. It’s very smooth and very drinkable, but the flavors just don’t stand out, especially as it warms. You’d think a little bit of warming would put some punch on the flavors but it’s just not the case. Toffee is the story with this one. Solid, but unspectacular and it just does one thing well.

Overall score for the Arcobrau: 6 out of 10

(3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

The Franziskaner gave us a super impressive huge 4″ foamy white head that left a good amount of head lacing as it dissipated slowly. It has a soft carbonation to it and there was a good murky haziness in the gold color.

The aromas struck us with banana, bubble gum and spices. The flavors came in with some toffee and orange to complement the banana and peppery edge. For our bottom line notes we got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance, harmony, memorable and buy again. The only no was for wow factor.

It’s strong on the banana on both the taste and smell with the citrus notes only coming in on the taste, along with some toffee. The spice is nice in this one and it gets even spicier as it warms – more pepper and banana in the taste. It moves towards banana bread as we get to the bottom of the glass. A lot of adventure in the glass and it does many things well.

Overall score for the Franziskaner: 7 out of 10

Winner: (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Bracket, Round 3

Next time: (4) Paulaner Hefe-Weizen vs. (5) Erdinger Weissbier.

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Hefe Madness – Round 1 – Ayinger Brau-Weisse vs. Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat

By John on May 12, 2009 (1 Comment)

Note: This is the The BeerFathers Hefe Madness Tournament, where we put eight hefeweizens head-to-head in a beer tournament to end all beer tournaments, March Madness style. See the original post here. All beers are consumed in weizen glasses with John and Beer Love neighbor Josh serving as the judges.

Round 1, Beer Battle 2

Hefe Madness Round 1,  Battle 2

Ayinger Brau-Weisse comes in as the number two seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “A-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 92 rating at RateBeer.com. The 500 mL bottles cost $3.49/each.

Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat comes in as the number seven seed in the hefeweizen tournament, thanks to it’s “B-” rating at BeerAdvocate.com and overall 36 rating at RateBeer.com. The 12 oz bottles cost $1.79/each.

This should be a pretty good matchup, despite the difference in the seeds, I’ve always liked the Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat – a very drinkable treat from Flying Dog, who makes so much good brew.

(7) Flying Dog In-Heat Wheat

The In-Heat Wheat gave us an average 1″ inch frothy white head that left no head lacing as it dissipated quickly. There was a medium amount of carbonation and the yellow/gold body was slightly murky – hefes shouldn’t be clear so this is a good thing.

The aromas came in with citrus – specifically lemon, banana and pepper. The flavors came in with a nondescript citrus, a light grassiness, light banana and pepper. The finish gave us a light bitter and a light sour. For our bottom line notes we got a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance and buy again. We got a no for harmony, memorable and wow factor.

There is more citrus than banana in the taste of this one. It’s smooth and fairly well balanced but there’s no notes of distinction. Perfectly acceptable as a hefe, but as it warms it’s not quite as good as it was – it gets a little chalky the warmer it gets.

Overall score for the In-Heat Wheat: 5 out of 10

(2) Ayinger Brau-Weisse

The Brau-Weisse pour gave us a huge 3″ foamy white head the left no head lacing as it dissipated slowly. It has a medium to lively carbonation to it and there was a nice haziness to the straw to yellow colored body.

The aromas came in with citrus – specifically grapefruit, yeast, apple, banana and pear. Nice light fruit tones really present a great bouquet. The flavors were pretty true to the aromas and also added a pepperiness that was nice. Initial flavors were lightly sweet and finish flavors stayed lightly sweet with a light tartness. There was no body lacing to speak of as we drank it down. Bottom line notes gave us a yes to repeatable, drinkable, balance, harmony and buy again. We got a no for memorable and wow factor.

Notes were fairly straightforward – heavy on fruits – apples, bananas and citrus – like a good fruit cocktail salad. Nice peppery taste and a smooth appealing mouthfeel.

Overall score for the Brau-Weisse: 7 out of 10

Winner: (2) Ayinger Brau-Weisse

Updated bracket:

Hefe Madness Round 2

Next time: (3) Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse vs. (7) Arcobrau Weissbier.

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