Bomber of the Month: June
Privatbrauerei Plank Laaber Helles Weizenbock
By: André DiMattia
Regular Price: $6.99
Sale Price: $5.49
Sale End: 6/30/2012
How rightfully accomplished the brewer, Michael Plank of the Privatbrauerei Plank Laaber brewery must be. As if proudly watching over the 16th century established family business isn’t enough, there is the high pedigree of working under extremely strict guidelines that is the German Reinheitsgebot and producing beers that would not only make the ancient traditionalists nod their heads with pleasure but can also sweep the judges of today’s market off their feet. With classic approaches, these beers have taken home medals in each year that they have been entered at the bi-annual, highly prestigious, World Beer Cup. None have been more recognized than that of their Heller Wizenbock as this year brought yet another Gold Medal to the Plank homestead and brings the total medal number to 6 from the World Beer Cup. While the praises are wonderful, the true feelings of accomplishments are certainly to come with each new brew day.
Bocks are by nature, stronger and more concentrated beers than the usual lighter styles of German beer. Some can be the color of night with others are rich with warming alcohol and dark fruit and yet some still can appear light on their feet but pack a long punch to the unknowing drinker. The Weizen-Bocks are bocks that have at least 50% wheat malt and have very similar characteristics to that of Hefeweizens, only bringing a larger alcohol percentage to the glass. The Heller indicates that it will be a lighter colored beverage and somewhat lighter flavor as well.
Plank’s Heller Weizenbock is not only one of the most highly recognized beers in the world for the style but also a beautifully true to style beverage. Plank is unique as they bottle condition each of their beers which allows the purity of each style to be upheld though travel and translates wonderfully well when finally opened and poured. The exceptional carbonation is tight with small bubbles, lasting with lace and so soothing with texture on the palate. Under the off white layer of foam, the color of the beer is muted by way of the unfiltered nature. Burnt orange and deep copper colors are present with a presence that is simply too inviting to pass up.
On to the Tasting Notes:
The classic aromas of banana and pepper are taken in their own direction as the slight buttered pastry undertone make combination of banana cream pie and yet, there is nothing sweet about this beer. Yeast is the pleasurable culprit for this joyful aroma; warm bread, baked fruit, green grapes and a soft cedar presence are woven together so nicely. With a long nuttiness, the yeastiness gives its self away and leads into the first sip.
Smooth and delicate, a near perfect example of how carbonation can carry a beer’s flavor so long on the tongue. Bright with a delicate citrus, rounded with a baked fruit mid palate and wonderfully thirst quenching at the end. Some wheat and husky flavors come up and give an impression of bright sun on the tips of tall grasses. The distinct yeast is highly active on the flavor and comes off as nothing short of magical. With a balance between the yeasty, grainy notes and those of the banana and bubblegum, Plank’s Helles Weizenbock is delightfully complex while still being a beer that one could commit to throughout an evening and never grow tired.
With its smooth texture and the firm nutty edge, foods rich in both flavor and texture would be rounded and cleaned up by the Plank Helles Weizenbock. As common as eggs are to find on a menu, rarely are they met with the kind of delicate reasoning as the one they would receive from the help of a wheat beer. Weizenbocks have just the right amount of sweetness to balance and yet finish with enough of a liveliness to lift a runny egg on toast, a quiche at lunch or a soufflé with dinner. Plates of chicken, either the pleasing southern fried style or the easy baked type could both find a common ground with a beer of such balance. Toasted coconut and even sweetened custard for dessert would be oddly enjoyed with a frothy glass of Plank Helles Weizenbock.
While the awards bring the attention from a world away, it doesn’t seem that the praise is a necessity. These beers taste as if they were happily created as a way to uphold the historic family name through the traditions of German brewing. We feel lucky that beers of this caliber can be found on our shelves, they truly are a lesson in proper balance and flavor.