Note to self – brushing your teeth shortly when you plan on tasting a beer isn’t the best idea you can have.
It’s a lesson I learned yesterday afternoon. Working the afternoon shift, I planned to head into town a bit early to stop in at the brewery to try the Illawarra Brewing Company’s new hefeweizen. And, out of habit, I brushed my teeth before heading off to work.
By the time I was standing in front of the brewery taps, about half an hour had passed. So it wasn’t like I still had a minty fresh mouth or anything like that. But I could still taste a bit of toothpaste when I took a sip of the hefe. And yet it didn’t change my impression of the beer. Which was quite favourable – hell, I’m a huge hefe fan so the IBC guys pretty much had me already.
It’s latest beer in a creative burst for IBC brewers Shaun Blissett and Ashur Hall. In the last month or so, they’ve released an oatmeal stout, a double IPA, a rum barrel porter, a pilsner (which is a tweaking of their Wilkinson’s Curse) and this hefe. And I understand there’s an Oktoberfest beer on the way too – though who knows how many more beers they’ll be able to crank out between now and then.
But back to the hefeweizen. It’s a light, cloudy colour but doesn’t have a thick head like some hefes – maybe that’s a byproduct of the pouring. On the nose, there are light banana aromas, which is what I’d expect in a hefe.
But it’s the taste that surprises. Yes, it features the banana and clove notes that are the hefe trade mark. However the guys have opted to bring ‘‘the hefeweizen to the modern day’’ by the inclusion of the New Zealand hop Wai-iti. That hop throws off some citrus flavours, adding a slight sharpness and tartness to the beer.
It’s a change to the standard hefe, which will make it stand out a bit. My only quibble? They might have released it a bit too soon. With that citrus bite, this hefeweizen would work extraordinarily well during summer.