Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse was traditionally brewed for the Octoberfest in Munich. The term ‘Wiesen’ in Germany means meadow, and it is a slang term for Octoberfest. Many years ago, the beer brewed for Octoberfest
was not necessarily the standard maerzen style lager beer associated with the event today. At this time, there were many styles of beer brewed there. The festival was in October rather than September, and it was often quite cold out, making necessary richer and stronger beers. Thus, Schneider’s Wiesen Edel-Weisse was made to be warming. It was quite full bodied, as the malt contained a fair amount of unfermentable sugar. In order to balance such a beer, it had to be brewed with more hops for balance, resulting in more noticeable hop character than is usually found in hefe weizens.
Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn GMBH, Kelheim, Germany
By law, German brewers must have their production facility in Munich in order to participate in the Octoberfest. Thus, Schneider had to leave the Octoberfest in 1942 when their Munich brewery was destroyed in the war. Fortunately, this year, they have chosen to re-create the style for the American market.
One obstacle to such a re-creation has been the fact that the brewery can not buy the same type of malt as it did in 1942. This malt was essentially a crude variety which is no longer produced. However, the brewmaster did find some wheat and barley malts that can approximate the former taste. Also, changes in the hop profile have
been made as a result of the brewmaster’s discovery of Cascade hops on a trip to the US. The resultant beer is stronger, lighter in color, and hoppier than Schneider Weisse. Also, the malt flavors are a bit different from those found in Schneider Weisse. Of course, they are soft, but also, quite bready and a bit perfumy/meadowy.