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Drink of the Week: Bierkeller Columbia's Weißbier

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$5 for a 32 oz. crowler. 921 Brookwood Dr. facebook.com/bierkellercolumbia.

With this Drink of the Week, I steer away from an annual obsession — but not too far away.

My pick here isn’t the delicately smokey, seriously crushable Rauchbier that Bierkeller Columbia brews each winter, a perfect drink for fireside hangs and my personal favorite beer brewed in the Midlands. This week’s selection is the Weißbier, another one of the brews that rotate in and out around the German lager experts’ signature Kellerbier.

Bierkeller, which crafts its beer in Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company’s Williams-Brice-adjacent facility, rebuked the oddity of pouring such a wheat beer in winter time in a recent Facebook post:

“weißbier in winter? yes indeed. crisp, refreshing wheat beers aren't just popular in the summer at the biergarten. they're frequently spotted slope-side in winter in the alps.”

Bierkeller’s take hits all the notes you’d expect. It leads with a big nose of banana and clove, and the scent blossoms with bready notes and something close to almond or amaretto on closer inspection. It pours with a creamy head that dissipates, but not too quickly. The banana and clove are there in the taste, but far less overwhelming than in the nose.

I recommend pouring a whole crowler of the Weißbier into a liter mug and alternating between quick, greedy glugs and slow sips preceded by long inhales of the aroma. The former will highlight how exceedingly well balanced the beer is, with a snap that will please Bierkeller’s lager faithful and a decadent, creamy mouthfeel and finish. The latter will tease out all the delicate intricacies of the flavor.

It might not be a traditional winter offering around these parts, but the traces of subtly warming spice give it a wintery feel when consumed in cold weather. And really, Bierkeller so perfectly hits the mark for those craving a German wheat beer that it has perennial appeal.

At $5 a crowler (the equivalent of paying $11.25 for a six-pack), it won’t break the bank if you’re ready to level up from Blue Moon. But be warned: It’ll be tough to go back.

While it isn’t hosting any of its popular pop-up biergartens at the moment, Bierkeller offers crowlers for weekly pickup (typically on Thursday between 5 and 7 p.m). Check out their Facebook page for more details.

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