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Review: Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. Craft Beer Impulse Buy.

March 10, 2010

“I feel like a beer.” I utter these words many times a day. Most of the time it’s while I’m at work and therefore, completely unable to partake in my most passionate of pastimes. However, when I’m arriving home from work or on my way to a friends house I many times still “feel like a beer.” Now I am in the position to make a pit stop and pick up something to enjoy, which, 99 times out of 100 is something I’ve never tried before. I have a fridge and “cellar” full of barrel-aged brews, hop bombs, and session beers, but I can feel that this isn’t their time to shine. This is when I make a craft beer impulse buy. I have no reason to buy more beer. Except, well, to have more beer. Picking up a six pack on impulse allows me to enjoy a few without the pressure of taking detailed tasting notes.

One of my most recent craft beer impulse purchases was a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. This beer is brewed in the style of a hefeweizen and is one of Sierra Nevada’s year-round releases. It should be fairly easy to find sitting alongside their flagship Pale Ale on store shelves. According to the brewery Kellerweis is brewed using open fermention, and is one of the only American Hefeweizens brewed using this method. A little research on open fermentation reveals this is beneficial to the formation of esters within the finished product.  Kellerweis weighs in at just 4.8% ABV and 15 IBU.  These stats make for an excellent light, refreshing, session ale.

Beer: Kellerweis

Brewer: Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; Chico, CA

Style: Hefeweizen

ABV: 4.8%

IBU: 15

Malt: Two-row Pale, Wheat, Munich

Hops: Perle or Sterling, Bittering


Kellerweis pours a glowing cloudy yellow into my glass. It reminds me of when the sun is hidden behind a large cumulus cloud. The head is tall and white, but dissipates quickly leaving traces of sticky lace. The bottle suggest pouring 2/3 of the brew then giving a swirl to collect the yeast sediment and finishing the pour. The first 2/3 pours crystal clear, and the last 1/3 was cloudy as an Illinois Halloween.

The aroma is a pleasant bouquet of flowers, vanilla, wheat, yeast, orange, and some spice. Everything about the way this beer smells screams “refreshing”. A hot summer day would compliment this beer perfectly. Yes, I said the day would compliment the beer…not the other way around.

The flavor is mostly wheat, citrus, and vanilla. The back half has the tiniest bit of grassy bitterness, but it acts nicely as a balancing quality.

In the mouth it is very light and fairly watery as well. The carbonation is nothing but a tingle on the tongue and it goes down smoothe and refreshing. The wheat malt helps to really smooth this one out. At 4.8% ABV this is a session beer if I’ve ever seen one, and I hope to see myself putting away a few of these on a hot day this coming summer. That is of course, if I break down and purchase a beer twice so closely together.

Overall, it’s a strong interpretation of a hefeweizen, very drinkable, refreshing, and has enough balance to stay away from becoming too sweet.

SCORE: 75/100

Chance of Craft Beer Epiphany: 95%

Hefeweizens are the perfect style of beer to introduce a newbie to beer with flavor. Some of the key flavor and aroma compents are: clove, banana, citrus, wheat, and vanilla. These are all welcoming characteristics that would easily allow someone to get used to actual flavor.  I have a dear friend who always tries the latest brew I’m drinking, but most turn her palate off.  Sierra Nevada Kellerweis did the opposite.  It was actually her very own craft beer epiphany.  So, the next time someone is raving about Blue Moon or Golden Wheat kindly remind them they are still drinking a macro and give them a true hefeweizen.


Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.



BJCP Style Sheet Press Release

One Comment
  1. Good review. I know I can relate to the first paragraph! I’ve always thought about trying this, but hefeweizens don’t always make it into my regular rotation, what with all the IPAs and stouts and doppelbocks and barleywines to try. Still, I’m always up for a great hefe. Might need to try this out next time I’m in the market for a solid session beer.

    Oh, and interesting new theme! Nice clean layout and cool colors … though I think I miss the banner a bit.

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