It's the summer, it's warm, stouts aren't refreshing you, you're bored of IPA's, lager is well lager, so where do you turn? The answer is wheat beers. They are refreshing, full of taste, come in a huge variety of flavours, and will happily quench your thirst on even the warmest of summer days.
Today I've selected Franziskaner Weissbier from Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau in Germany and Grosse Bertha from Brussels Beer Project Brewery in Belgium to review. We'll start with the obvious Franziskaner comes in a 500ml bottle while Grosse Bertha is a 330ml, which isn't always a bad thing when you're trying to get them drunk before they get warm.
What is less appealing about Grosse Bertha from the off though is that it's more than a pound more than its rival despite its modest size. In terms of alcohol content though Grosse Bertha at 7% is 2% stronger than Franziskaner so maybe this explains the price difference. The real question here though is have the Belgium's managed to create a wheat beer which can rival the German's, who to my mind are very much the experts when it comes to creating wheaty goodness.
Lets start with Bertha as much as anything because it was my nans name. It has a pleasant enough aroma and a slightly bananary taste which pales into significance next to the coriander. Unlike most wheat beers it doesn't seem to produce much of a head when poured, it's also more hazy than your average wheaty offering.
Grosse Bertha is certainly potent enough to ensure you wont be drinking too many on a night out, but more than refreshing enough to act as a breaker drink when you just can't drink another rich full stout. It's a light, tasty offering which will neither disappoint or inspire. If you see it around pick yourself up a bottle or two, but probably don't go out your way. 6/10.
Franziskaner is very much a staple of the wheat beer world and can be found in the likes of LIDL, Tesco and Morrisons on a regular basis. It also comes in the much harder to find Dunkel form and has an alcohol free version. For now we're just going to concentrate on the standard Weissbier version.
Lets cut to the chase. The Germans know how to do wheat beer, this is their real go to style, and there's a reason Franziskaner is everywhere, it's amazing. It's flavoursome, smooth, and the head is just perfect. By keeping the percentage down to 5% they've made it extremely drinkable.
I honestly don't know anyone who likes wheat beer that doesn't rate Franziskaner. In bottled form you'll be able to pick it up for under £2, which also makes it an excellent budget option. There's not many quality beers you can have a full session on for around £10 but this is certainly one. It's difficult to give this great of the Weissbier world anything other than 10/10. Whenever you see it buy some.