Being from Cape Breton, I want to love every beer that comes out of there. And most of the time, I can do that unreservedly. But… I’m having a harder time with Breton Brewing‘s “Stirling” Hefeweizen. But it’s not them. It’s me.
If you’ve not yet had a Hefe, it’s a German wheat beer with at least 50% of the barley which would normally be used replaced with wheat, and in unfiltered form, cloudy in a way that in other contexts would send you off to the doctor for some antibiotics.
In the case of two-year-old Breton Brewing’s Stirling, they use 60% wheat, ale yeast, and Hallertauer hops (an American variety inspired by German Hallertau). They say this: “…a light, refreshing Hefeweizen (half wheat) beer that’s 60% wheat, 40% barley, brewed to let the clove and banana aromas kick arse.”
And for me, therein lies the rub. I don’t mind clove, but the banana is not my friend. I will sometimes put one in a pocket when I’m cycling, but it’s always a struggle to eat it, and I’m just not a fan of banana flavouring, regardless of where I find it. So this arse-kicking banana aroma is certainly kicking my arse. I can appreciate this beer intellectually, but I’m never going to love it.
Without getting too precious about the glassware selection, keep in mind that Hefeweizen is foamy by nature, and Stirling is no exception. Be prepared for it to give you a significant amount of foam. I pity someone trying to fill a kolsch glass with this. As I say, this one is unfiltered, and it’s significantly opaque, with a colour of brassy gold that almost has some greenish tones in it to my eyes.
It’s a gassy beer to drink as well as to pour. The carbonation is alive in your mouth for some time. The banana and clove flavours are dominant, but there’s also a sharpness to it that you’d expect out of a wheat beer. But if you’re coming to this from something like Big Rock’s Grasshopper, be ready for a surprise.
This is not a bad beer. But it’s not one that I will ever be able to say I love. For that, I’ll stick to Breton’s “Sons of Hector” brown ale. Look for it at the brewery in Sydney, fairly widely around Cape Breton, and at a number of places in the province’s capital city of Halifax. At this point, it’s not available outside the province.
- ABV: 4.6%
- IBU: 15
- Style: Farmhouse Ale
- Taste: Bananas, cloves, and more bananas
- Rating: 3.25/5
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