Widmer Brothers: Not Just Hefe

You are, no doubt, familiar with Widmer’s Hefeweizen, that extremely cloudy, exceptionally fresh, brew which when served ice cold with a lemon slice on a hot summer day, might be about one of the best thirst quenchers around, but these folks are far more than that, and the breadth of their selections is impressive.

Back in 1984, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer began making beer for themselves and their friends. Soon, they had quit their jobs and built Widmer Brewing Company in northwest Portland. They started with Altbier and Weizenbier, and in 1986 a pub owner asked the brothers to make a third beer for him. Limited to only two fermenters, they left the Weizenbier unfiltered and cloudy, creating the first American-style Hefeweizen, and with that, the familiar beer was born. In 1990, they moved the brewery to North Portland, and renamed it Widmer Brothers Brewing Company. By 1996, Widmer Brothers  was the nation's largest draft-only brewery. It was time to start bottling. 1998 saw the creation of the Collaborator project, developed by Widmer Brothers and the Oregon Brew Crew. Through this annual competition, different home brew recipes are chosen and produced in the pilot brewery at Widmer Brothers, giving everyone the chance to have their recipe brewed on a large scale. The “W” Brewmasters' Release Series from Widmer Brothers boasts a new beer every year. Built from the ground up by hardworking brewmasters. We are featuring two of their outstanding beers for the newsletter’s three month run.

Lemongrass Wheat Ale is brewed with a unique mixture of malts and muscat grape juice. This brew has a traditional malt backbone, hints of late harvest grape sweetness, and a distinct lemongrass flavor and aroma. Champagne and ale yeasts were used in tandem to produce a sparkling, crisp, yet fruity profile. Alchemy and Crystal hops balance and compliment the citrus, earthy, and spicy notes of the beer. $7.99 – 22 oz. bottle.

Nelson Imperial IPA. Take your taste buds on a journey to the far side of the world. New Zealand’s legendary Nelson Sauvin hop gives us a powerful hoppy character, but none of the heaviness you sometimes find in Imperial IPAs. The result is a big brew with a sweet, malty character that perfectly balances the intense hop aroma and flavor. $6.99 – 4 pack.

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