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Beer of the Week: Craftsman Brewing Heavenly Hefe, Pasadena, CA

Summer officially started a couple hours ago. That means it’s time to put aside the sours and Baltic porters, and cool down with a refresher. Often that means a watery, easy to down beer that tastes vaguely of malt and hops. Lawnmower beers, hefeweizens, lagers…too often are crafted by brewers for the sake of crafting something light and consumed by beer drinkers for the sake of consuming something light.

Hefeweizen can be the ugly duckling of this crowd with its wheat base. I grew a fondness for hefeweizen when visiting Munich one spring, needing to pace myself through the beer tents of Frühlingsfest, while also adhering to local tradition of hefeweizen with breakfast. They’re intense in those parts.

Upon returning home to Los Angeles, I discovered a nuanced hefeweizen with extraordinary character for the genre from a tiny, just beginning brewery with no pub or tasting room in Pasadena. I’ve grown to appreciate many of the brewing efforts by owner and brewmaster Mark Jilg, but none can compare yet with that Heavenly Hefe. Found more frequently these days across Los Angeles at bars such as Father’s Office and a few select bars in San Diego and San Francisco occasionally, this is a hefeweizen worth seeking out. Craftsman doesn’t bottle beers, so to the bar and find that keg you must go.

Heavy banana and clove notes with a vague mango touch add tremendous depth to the full, structured body. This is a light, wheat beer with gusto. Leave the sliced oranges behind. The body sports a brilliant golden hue, the sign of a happy, healthy, if I may heavenly hefe. With today’s debut of summer, I wish Craftsman could send a pint of this my way to cool down with this 90 degree heat.

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