Weizen No. 1

In 1985, the Widmer Brothers brewed their first wheat beer.  No, it wasn’t Hefeweizen, that was still a year off. The original Weizen was filtered, clear — a style rarely seen today, but popular in Germany.

Weizen really shows off it’s German roots. It has a bit of the banana and clove aroma you’ll find in a native Weizen, though in smaller proportions. There are no hop flavors to speak of, just a bit of a bitterness. The wheat lends a whole grain flavor. And you don’t want to sully it with a lemon wedge.

In the early days, Widmer Bros. Brewing took all their inspiration from Germany, from the beer styles they brewed to the brewpub they opened in 1994, the Widmer Gasthaus and Pub. Gasthaus is German for guest house. After their recent renovation the Gasthaus name was scrubbed. It is now the Widmer Pub.

The name change is indicative of a larger shift in Widmer’s beers. Hefeweizen is still the core brand and is sold across the country via their Craft Beer Alliance distrubution chain, but in recent years the brand has plateaued. Instead of crumbling, Widmer has expanded and left their German roots behind. They produce a rotating IPA series, have expanded into barrel aging, and even seriously dabble in sour beers.

They may not be a German style brewery any longer, but Widmer Brothers Brewing is still an Oregon staple.