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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Beer pick of the week: Weihenstephaner Vitus

click to enlarge Liquid Candy: Weihenstephaner Vitus
  • Liquid Candy: Weihenstephaner Vitus

Brauerei Weihenstephan

Freising, GER

7.7% ABV

This weizenbock is new to Georgia, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Beer Advocate and Sandy Springs resident Justin Michels, who rallied like-minded beer lovers to lobby the Georgia distributor of Weihenstephaner beers, Georgia Crown, to add this beer to their portfolio. For Georgia Crown, it was a simple matter of adding Vitus to its order from Total Beverage Solutions, the South Carolina importer that was already bringing the beer into the U.S. Just goes to show what some good old-fashioned agitation can accomplish. Show your appreciation by picking up a few bottles.

Vitus might be described as an imperial version of Weihenstephan's world-class weissbier, packing more body and more flavor into a fruity, tart and refreshing Bavarian wheat beer. A huge, fluffy head of cotton candy-like foam sits atop the orange-gold beer, rising a full inch above the rim of the glass without falling over, eventually settling to a finger of off-white foam that you could probably use as shaving cream. Beautiful.

The traditional banana and clove aromas from the yeast are off the chain, combining with a distinct lactose note that conjures a banana cream pie from Picadilly. Banana haters need not apply. The initial taste is of sugar cookie and grainy wheat, followed by a Juicy Fruit center of banana, pineapple, and bubble gum. Just when you think you are drinking candy, a solid hit of tangy, slightly lemony yeast and spicy hops cleans up the palate. Coriander, clove, and sage linger in the long, mildly sour finish. As would be expected from a wheat beer, the mouthfeel is creamy, but with a slick almost oily character that is perfectly balanced by the active carbonation that holds that foamy cap all the way down.

Although the flavors beg to be savored, Vitus goes down as smooth as the mellowest hefeweizen. The alcohol is well hidden, with only the sweet slickness hinting at the high gravity. A remarkable beer that really has no equal that I have had. It would pair nicely with any number of foods, from salad to dessert.

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