Comparing apples and oranges is generally considered unfair at best and foolish if attempting a conversion of one adherent to another. Of course, that doesn’t stop people from doing it. People just like such mental exercises however fruitless. In Round 1 of this comparative series I pitted the original Weizenbock Schneider’s Aventinus against formidable counterpart Erdinger Pikantus. These are not only two similar beers but I dare say, the latter was very much influenced by the prototype Weizenbock. They’re both dark and full of dried fruit. While Pikantus put up a good fight, the clear winner was Aventinus.
the first battle of Weizenbocks went to Aventinus
I’ll not try to hide my obvious love of Schneider’s majestic Aventinus but I’ll also say their Hopfenweisse is one of the best craft beers in Germany and was at the forefront of the entire movement. While the beers are quite different, they share enough attributes to make a comparison interesting if not entirely without fault. They’re both brewed by Schneider, though to be fair Oliver Garrett of Brooklyn Brewing was equally responsible for the citrusy Hopfenweisse. Schneider is perhaps the most renowned Weißbier brewery in the world and these are both not only Weißbiers but Weizenbocks and in fact are now being perhaps rightfully marketed as Dopplebocks since they both clock in at 8.2%!
comparing apples & oranges: dark original vs craft beer influenced
Round 1 was close but Aventinus was more impressive visually mostly due to its massive head and to be honest, I am a sucker for darker hued beers in winter and these types of beer tend to be drunk then. Round 2 was closer with both exhibiting strong enticing noses. The Hopfenweisse was full of citrus while Aventinus exuded dried fruit. Again, I would give the nod to Aventinus as I find these fragrances more attuned with winter and it also seems to intermingle with the natural yeasty aroma common to the style. Round 3 was again even with both offering gorgeous initial flavors with the Hopfenweisse perhaps being more approachable. Round 4 is where Aventinus flexed its muscles and the interplay of dried fruit and yeast overshadowed the citrusy elements of the young upstart. Round 5 showed that Aventinus had a more intriguing long lingering finish that remained just as dry as the hoppier craft beer.
the winner is Aventinus
These are two very tasty and dangerously drinkable Weizenbocks. While I quite like the Hopfenweisse, I just find Aventinus to be more interesting at this alcohol level. Actually, when I first had the Hopfenweisse on tap at the Weisses Bräuhaus in Munich, I was astonished to find it was 8.2% though it became readily apparent on the second one. I would love to see Schneider brew a summer version of this at say 5.5% with the same citrusy hoppy elements and since it would have less malt in its makeup, it would be perfectly dry for a day at the Biergarten. Weißbier is very popular in Bavaria, especially in summer. I think a hoppy one would be a great addition and unlike anything currently available.