Many years ago a beer style tended towards extinction. A beer style that even in Greece has been loved very much. Certainly we are not eminently fans of this kind of beer, but is evidenced by the popularity it fits with us (Greeks).
Weiss is a kind of beer which origins are from Germany. It’s one of the most classic types of beer of the Bavaria and one of the most famous beer types internationally. In German Weiss means white. So they get their name from their blurry (pale) white color in contrast with the other very common beer style of German which is Lager. They are known for their unique flavor, which is due to their production of wheat. The German Weiss (from now on simply Weiss), contains at least 50% of wheat malt. In other countries this is not mandatory and their “Wheat beers” as may be named are produced with less wheat.
Weiss is not a modern innovation. There are proofs in many archaeological excavations, as in ancient texts, that Weiss, produced from the first moment the man dealt with beer. So first the Mesopotamians, produced beer containing ancestors of wheat (cereals of those days have little to do with the today’s), similarly reacted and the Ancient Egyptians. This was always depended on the cereal production in each region. There is evidence to confirm the above. The Law of the Babylonian King Hammurabi, enacted the 1700BC imposed nationals of the Kingdom, to produce and consume beer as defined. Among the mandates of the law, referred and the wheat based beers. Moreover, an older display with beer consumption, dating to 3400BC confirms the above since scientists are confident that represents wheat beer.
Weiss became very popular during the Middle Ages. Their story starts somewhere in the 12th and 13th century. In Bohemia, the neighboring region of Bavaria produces a beer of this kind. The beer is loved and popularized until the Bavaria. Important role in the history of Weiss played two families, the Royal House of Degenberg, who had the privilege of exclusive production of Weiss and Royal House of Wittelsbach who commanded the area. The last one also has a connection with the modern history of the Greek nation.
The production of Weiss met several problems over the years, among them were the strict limits of Reinheitsgebot, the laws of purity of beer, which prohibits adding any foreign substance in beer, other than water, hops and barley (hence what would happen with wheat;) and production of beer during the summer months. In 1556, given the pejorative phrase, Duke Albrecht V, which argued that Weiss offers nothing positive is a useless beer which simply pushes the drunkenness and banned the production of beer Weiss anyone beyond family of Degenberg. When the last Degenberg died without leaving heirs, the production rights of beer passed to the family of Wittelsbach.
Today Prince Leopold of Bavaria is doing the brewing he is the owner of Kaltenberg Brewery which produces the König Ludwig beer, monitors developments which the family has played an important role. In the middle of 20th century Weiss, came into the spotlight again and by the end of that century had become quite popular worldwide. For several years Weiss, is produced in our country too.
Weiss, as mentioned above have taken its name from theis white color. They contain at least 50% wheat, while many German breweries produce beers with 60%-70% wheat malt. Beer with 100% wheat can’t be produced. The majority of Weiss, are unfiltered and contain residues of yeast in the bottle or keg. They are fermented for 2-4 days at temperatures between 20οC-22οC and mature for 10-14 days before bottling. Weiss, have original wort content of 11,5 o-13,2oPlato. Unlike the general philosophy of the Germans for low fermentation beers such as Lager, the Weiss, are high fermentation beers. The yeast is the ‘endows’ with fruity aromas and taste. It is known for its rich and compact foam caused by the high protein content and carbonate.
They are distinguished in several subcategories of color and their preparation. There are dark Weiss which are known as Dunkel Weiss and Kristall Weiss, which are crystalline, clear Weiss, as they have been, filtered prior bottling. The beers that produced in the South and Southwest Germany based on wheat and barley addition called Weizenbier and only when they have carefully filtered (Kristall Weizen). When the sentiment of the yeast is in the bottle then the beer is call Weissbier. So when there is sediment of yeast residues that beer is characterized as Hefeweizen. In this category belong the Münchener Weiss. Mistakenly many labels outside Germany have this condition, as they have the same content as the wheat malt German. The Berliner Weisse is produced exclusively in Berlin. Is low in alcohol, about 2.5%-3.7%, are lighter and have a dry and sour flavor. Accompanied by a wide variety of syrups which gives them a different striking color and flavor changes in accordance with it.
There are beers that made with wheat outside Germany. The most famous are the Witbier from Belgium and the Wheatbeer from America. Although they are beers made with wheat they can’t be in Weiss category, as they don’t have the same composition. For example the Belgian contains and other herbs, while the American is produced with less wheat malt (approximately 30% instead 50% which is the minimum), avoiding aromas of clove or banana something that the Germans have.
Weiss are served in their own glass. Never share a Weiss in two glasses. Its glass brings out the aromas and flavors while agitating the residues of yeast that exists in it. The serving must be made in two steps. At first we lean the glass and we serve beer on a gradient of 45 °. Once there are about two fingers of beer left in the bottle, we stop the serving in order to start with the second step, where we stir the bottle in order to share the yeast. We supplement vertically in the center of the glass to the last drop. In serving of the draught, we never cut the foam!
In our country we have a satisfactory variety of Weiss, either we are talking about Hefeweiss or Dunkel Weiss. Among them and huge brand names: Weihenstephan, Paulaner, Schneider, Augustiner, Franziskaner, Maisels, Erdinger.
In our country, although we are beer lovers, Weiss does not boast a huge variety, as Lager or Pils. In Greece we produce Vergina Weiss and Fix Royale. In the past there were also Craft Weiss which stopped after the Craft Brewery shutdown.
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