Is hefeweizen really a beer? Yes, despite it’s lack of hops, but sometimes wheat beers are so lifeless or so full of fruity notes that they take on a very unpleasant life of their own.
Not the case with the “Hue Hefe” Hefeweizen from the Los Gatos Brewing Company, in the small, charming Santa Cruz Mountains town of Los Gatos, known mostly for being the home of Manresa. This is the heart of wine country after all, but their civilized, very hospitable brew pub is an excellent spot for lunch, to catch up with friends, and of course watch the game.
It’s also an exceptional place to sample beer. Hefeweizen is always the quick first chug and finish on a tasting flight. Here, it’s the lager. It’s not a bad lager by any means, but has little going on to become special. The IPA is perfectly balanced, not too hoppy, and there’s a very solid Oktoberfest selection, a terrific stout that seems more like a porter in the body of a stout, and an ESB cask ale.
The hefeweizen though steals the show. It’s a strong banana nose and a strong banana taste without being odd. A little cinnamon can be detected without being overpowering. I’m a sucker for everything banana flavored, even enjoying plain banana beers. This is a whole level above from that. Banana shines through this hefeweizen much like excellent cherry notes hit on a sour cask ale. It’s a rare sophisticated and enjoyable hefeweizen.