Weizenbock is a style unsurprisingly born in Munich. In 1907, Brauerei Schneider was still in the city center and hadn’t yet rescued what would become the obscure entire Weißbier style in the 1970s. This was, of course, before wheat-based beer segued into one of the most popular styles. If there were a beer soap opera, it would certainly fill the bill. Its popularity continues to surge, even in areas of Germany where the style is not native.
Perhaps less obvious is it being one of the more approachable Bocks. With esters mingling effortlessly with more traditional malty overtones, Weizenbock was a sure challenger to the Dopplebocks of the day. Schneider’s Aventinus was an immediate hit and remains the standard by which all others are judged.
Even within the style, there are fair variations. It appears from most recent forays that the lighter versions are more popular but to me, the darker ones like Aventinus will always be my favorites. While Weihenstephan’s Vitius is an amazing beer and compares favorably with strong wheat-based Belgian ales, I still find comfort in the dried fruit aspects of the darker varieties. I’ve recently had an incredible lighter Weizenbock from Ulrich Martin in Schonungen, with notes of dried apricot so don’t assume I’m writing them off wantonly.
There’s just something about a dark Bock that gets me going and when there’s wheat in the mix, the drinkability factor is both enticing and dangerous. While these contemplative brews pair exceptionally well with strong cheeses, tart fruits and dark chocolate, they can be utilized in the traditional Weißwürstfrühstück, Munich’s homespun veal sausage/sweet mustard/pretzel/wheat beer signature dish. If doing it during the work week though, be sure to cancel all meetings.
Not so far east of Munich, the also noted Weißbier Brauerei in Erding brews another hearty classic: Pikantus. Since I had a bottle of each sitting in my cellar and the strong beer season is just about to start, I thought it might be fun to drink them head to head over a late breakfast/early lunch as I had no meeting scheduled.
Adventinus vs. Pikantus: a battle of two worthy heavyweights
Since I usually drink Schneider’s Original with the Munich’s signature dish, I initially was set to drink the Aventinus first. I switched at the last minute on seeing the Pikantus was closing in on its sell by date. When its head faded quickly, I was glad I did and feared a first round TKO. Thankfully, the beer maintained its carbonation as Weißbier isn’t a style of beer to be drunk flat. It came out punching with a nose strong of dried fruit and a rich malty palate diminished in no way by age. Despite its richness, it went well with the veal sausages and sweet mustard. The finish was clean with no residual sweetness. Closing out the round strongly, Aventinus would have to fight hard.
From the opening bell, that it did, pouring illustriously and crowned with a champion’s yeasty dimpled head. The nose was every bit its visual equal, with a fine interplay of raisin and yeast. It went equally well with the Weißwürst but where it really shone was in the long, lingering finish; mingling both the yeast and raisin elements to the very last savor. It was a sure knockout, a good thing. I’m fairly certain I couldn’t have lasted another round.