American wheat beers are some of the most approachable beers in the craft beer world, and the versatility of wheat beer allows it to be combined with a variety of ingredients or enjoyed on its own alongside a wide variety of food options. The sizable portion of wheat malt used to brew wheat beer lends a lighter, distinctive experience compared to beers brewed with barley exclusively.
American Wheat Beer
Typically lighter in appearance, wheat beer can be made using either ale or lager yeast, and American wheat beer can be brewed with at least 30 percent malted wheat. Like the traditional German hefeweizen, these beers are typically served unfiltered and can have a cloudy appearance when roused. Traditionally hoppier than its German cousin, American wheat beer differs in that it does not offer flavors of banana or clove, which is indicative of the weizen yeast strain. Nevertheless, the American wheat beer is known worldwide as a refreshing summer style.
The Origin of Wheat Beer in America
Malted wheat imparts a distinctively light, flour-like character that differs from all-barley malt beer varieties. American craft brewers were likely inspired by the fruit and spice forward, unfiltered wheat beers of Bavaria. But without access to the specialty Bavarian weizen yeast so critical to the hefeweizen, brewers were forced to use clean fermenting American ale and lager yeast. The American wheat’s composition gives it a particularly inviting style, accepting of additional ingredients, particularly raspberries, watermelon and even chilis.
Locating Your New Favorite American Wheat Beer
The versatility of wheat beer is a large part as to why it is such a popular craft beer option across the country year-round. Its light character makes it a smooth American beer to pair with lighter foods like salads, shellfish and fresh cheeses. American beer brewers have successfully mastered their own version of the wheat beer, and we want to do our part to help you find your new favorite. Our “Find a Brewery” map is designed to help you find a place near you to try your first, or next, American wheat beer.
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