21 July 2008


I had passed over the bottle of Ayinger Weizen-Bock while making my selections. There were more tempting alternatives -- new stuff and a few old favourites I hadn't seen in a while. My arms were already full of bottles when a complete stranger leapt into my field of vision.
"Have you tried this?" he exclaimed, grabbing about four bottles of the Weizen-Bock with one hand.
"No," I said, "I've had the Celebrator, though. It's really good."
"Yeah, it is good" he said, not really listening, "but this is just amazing. The flavours, everything."
He filled his other hand with three more bottles and bounded off, eyes gleaming.

I had never been approached by a random beer fan recommending a beer before, let alone one whose attitude implied that crack cocaine was being used as an adjunct. I wasn't sure if I should chance it or not. Then I noticed the label features a goat wearing a hat: how could I resist?

My recent positive experience with Weihenstephaner Vitus left me looking forward to drinking Ayinger's version, even though they follow the Celebrator pattern by packing it in little 33cl bottles. The pour is unimpressive, with loads of fizz and no sign of that classic big weissbier head. The colour is the same cloudy pineapple yellow as the Hopfen-Weisse by Schneider and Brooklyn.

Having built up high expectations following my experience in the off licence, I confess I was disappointed by the taste. It's only a little more intense than your typical good-quality hefe-weissbier: bananas and cloves, of course, being the dominant notes. I will give it credit for its smoothness: a wonderful silken texture which makes it deceptively easy drinking with the 7.1% ABV barely noticeable.

A good beer, but not one of the great ones. Still, each to their own, eh?


  1. I have passed over this beer a few times also. Perhaps there is something displeasing in the label to beer moochers.

    I don't think I have been given beer advice by stranger before. I've considered offering my own, but never quite managed it.

  2. I do it all the time. In fact it's a wonder I haven't been barred from the Bull & Castle for hassling the punters, between unasked-for recommendations and enquiring where Árainn Mhór drinkers think their beer is made.

  3. I've done this to people - walked over and grabbed all of the great divide bombers on a shelf and said - "I'll leave one for you if you want it, it's fantastic!" If they don't like barleywine or imperial stout or hops, they may prefer almost anything else. Even if they love those styles, they may not care for that particular brand nearly as much as I do, but how exactly do we account for why we love a brew so very much, or how we can give it a 5 while someone else rates it a 2? Maybe it's something silent and particulate we're reminded of in the olfactory. Or maybe it's the label.

  4. Anonymous10:21 pm

    I was once asked by a woman perusing the beer selection in my local supermarket with a recipe in her hand if I could point her to a stout - seems she wanted to impress dinner party guests with a beer dish but knew nothing about beer. As I'd just won a BGBW award for writing about beer with food, I though it was amusing that of all the supermarkets in all the towns ...

  5. For me, lemasney, it has to be goats-in-hats every time.

    Zythophile, you might have been of more use if she'd actually wanted to drink the stuff, though. I hope you sent her away with some Guinness for cooking and something decent to accompany the dish.

  6. @thebeernut You might be persuaded by a hop disguised as a demon. ;) Goat-based maybe, but no hat. Hop Devil

  7. Anonymous9:34 am

    This post made me laugh out loud. I would have fallen for the goat-in-hat too.

    I wish this kind of thing happened more often. In London strangers never really talk to each other-- if you do people look at you like you are crazy. I learned this the hard way.

  8. I'd have thought it would help if you're foreign, Impy. Or are you using your Dick van Dyke accent to blend in seamlessly with the locals?

    I certainly have had no problem talking to random beer people in London. "Aye, thon's a quare pint, hi."