Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aventinus Weizenbock

Beer: Aventinus Weizenbock
Brewery: G. Schneider and Sohn (Munich)
Type: Weizenbock
ABV: 8.2%

I review beers not just because I enjoy them, but because I'm always seeking to experience that moment of perfect beer clarity that occurs when you try something truly spectacular, when you know you've been privileged to discover the very best the world has to offer. Only once in a great while does this happen. There are so many beers out there that can be classified as first-rate, superb examples of their craft and true pleasures to drink. But then there are the elite; the beers that captivate your senses so completely that the world appears to pause for a few moments, allowing you to give the brew your undivided attention. Each sip elicits a simple, quiet utterance of both satisfaction and contentment. And when the glass is held aloft to gather those final resisting drops, you feel invigorated and awestruck by what's just happened: you've just had one of the best beers in the world.

This beer is, quite simply, a work of art. It's everything a beer should strive to be: unique, inspiring, complex, smooth, exciting. The absolute pinnacle of its style. I struggled to find flaws with Aveninus, but they were hard to come by; to change any aspect of this beer would be to destroy its very essence.

Aventinus Weizenbock is an opaque light-brown brew, sepia when held to the light, and with patches of orange round the edges of the glass. The pour left about an inch of head, which has diligently survived as a thin but noticeable layer lasting throughout the session. Sheets of lacing after sipping.

The nose is a splendid blend of typical hefe notes of banana, cloves, and coriander, but perfectly infused with dark fruit, chocolate, and caramel, which are flavors normally associated with Belgian tripels and German bocks. Only a slight alcohol burn to the nostrils. Lovely.

The taste is simply phenomenal. Chocolate and banana, hazelnut, wheat, malt, a touch of hops and slight warming alcohol to the finish. Tastes like the holy offspring of a dunkelweizen and a tripel. Banana and nuts linger longer as the brew warms up a touch. Just love it. The still-substantial head gives the brew a creamy texture.Carbonation is high, but surprisingly it works. It kept me from absolutely destroying the brew, which - trust me - I was tempted to do.

I'm sure the fact that the ABV was over 8% contributed to my outpouring of love for Aventinus, but why shouldn't it? Beer is by its very nature alcoholic, and thus the alcohol character of a brew should contribute positively to the overall experience. I loved this brew from the first sip onwards, and I'm not alone in this regard. Beeradvocate.com rates this beer among the world's best, and certainly the finest of the weizenbock style, while the members of Ratebeer.com place Aventinus in the 100th percentile. Truly a magnificent brew, and one I strongly encourage you to try for yourself. (Grade: A+)

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