Monday, June 18, 2007

PYRAMID HEFEWEIZEN: A GREAT NO-THINK, NO-LOOK BEER

When you arrive at a certain plateau in beer geekdom, it’s tempting and dead easy to disparage the “macro micros”: Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Red Hook, Anchor Steam and the like. While I’m quite happy to have those around when I’m out & about at a run-of-the-mill bar or watching a band, of course I’d rather have something I’ve never had before. Back in the 90s one beer that I used to drink frequently & which always seemed to be sitting in the fridge in a sixer was PYRAMID HEFEWEIZEN. Used to love it, but I’ll bet I haven’t had one in seven or eight years despite its ubiquity here in Northern California.

So there I was watching this British pop band called THE LONG BLONDES on Saturday, and I needed some liquid refreshment to help me through the singer’s vamping and the band's occasional forays into techno. It was Anchor, Sierra, or Pyramid Hefeweizen on tap, and I boldly went with the latter. I’m glad I did – in the right context, this beer, to my surprise, is excellent. Now I’m not saying it complies to the letter with the German purity laws, nor that it’s overly complex or bursting with yeasty experimental flavors, but it decidedly does not taste mass-produced to me. It is an exceptionally refreshing, fairly light but very clean & full of grainy, wheat flavor. Take a good whiff and you might smell a little of mom’s banana bread in there. Better than WIDMER’S hefeweizen by a mile. It’s a distinctly American take on the hefeweizen for sure, but there’s a reason they are selling these by the truckload – it’s a really great beer if you value context over complexity. That is, don’t sit on a home tasting panel with your beer dork friends dissecting it - drink it when you’re out & about and need something that’ll dimly ring your craft beer bell while tasting like a night-out beer should. 8/10. And no - I don't even mind the lemon. Am I kicked out of the scene yet?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pyramid Hefeweizen gets an 8/10 but St. Bernardus Abt 12 gets a 6/10?! Ohmigod, my head just exploded!!

Jay said...

Anonymous, we fancy ourselves as tellers of hard truths here at Hedonist Beer Jive. Then again, we don't know nothin' about nothin'.

Rick Sellers said...

Kicked out? Nah, not yet. I agree it is an easy to enjoy beer, even if I'd give it a couple points less. I was recently invited out to Pyramid in Sacto where I tried their entire lineup - they don't brew crap beer, but if we all admit it we know that. You'll have to keep your eyes open for the not-yet-released double IPA they'll be putting out... now that should be fun.

Good stuff, Jay.

Hair of the Dog Dave said...

I'd have to agree, it's a lot better than Widmers.

Anonymous said...

Anything Widmer makes automatically gets two points subtracted because I once saw a Widmer print ad where beer was spelled "bier". That would be normal if the entire ad was written in German, but it was an English-language ad, which made the "bier" spelling more of a posturing, posing, wanking exercise than I could possibly be asked to digest. Of course, the ad agency did it, but certainly at least one of the Widmers signed off on it.

Dale said...

I keep waiting to be impressed by something Pyramid makes. Their stuff okay for the price (between a buck to $1.50 cheaper than most the other craft brew 6 packs available in the town) but nothing I've been too impressed with. I tried the Hefeweizen the other night and it was average. For me it was more of a 6 than an 8. The wife and her stitch-n-bitch circle really like their apricot wheat. though.