02 June 2008

Saranac Hefeweizen (NY)

In the wake of the F.X. Matt brewery fire, I decided to pick up one of their seasonal offerings. I'm not going to pretend as though I love the Saranac line. They do some things well, some not so well. Hefeweizen is one I was not confident they'd do well; I don't think many US brewery's get it right. It turns out, this was better than I'd expected.

Off to a good start: Saranac Hefeweizen is unfiltered and has a proper banana aroma. The flavor brings a bit of spice (coriander, clove) and, near the end, a lemony tartness. The finish is a bit messier than I'd wish, with spice and tart and maybe some slightly off flavors. Still, the whole thing is pretty good. The body isn't too light and it has a nice active but not obtrusive carbonation (a lot of other Saranac's are over-fizzed, IMO).

I'd rank this above the American "classic" Widmer Hefeweizen, which I admit I don't much like. Saranac's attempt at the style isn't up to the standards of top German breweries, but you'll pay barely half as much for a bottle. It's sold as part of the brewery's summer 12-pack if you can't find it in singles or sixes.

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