Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Kellerweis Device

by J.S. Holland

It took a few years of me and other fans of Duvel-style bottle-conditioned ales to keep yapping and jawing and hammering our cause home, but finally it's starting to pay off. Check out how Sierra Nevada, a brewer I've never particularly had strong opinions about one way or another, now offers this here Kellerweis Hefeweizen with copious yeast right in the bottle, and with that Duvel quality through and through. (Previous supermarket-level hefeweizens I've tried have been OK, but lack that certain Ommegang charm.) It's less hoppy than Duvel, but retains that golden cloudy carbonated manna quality. I adore it. Nevada, to both your brewery and to your sierra, I say Bravo.

I got some of this the other night while pondering the life and times of intrepid landfaring heroes like Daniel Boone, and equally intrepid seafaring villains like Black Sam. I started out at Ernesto's but soon my usual Ern-buddies tipped back their last glass and went home to their wives and TV sets. Me, I stuck around a little longer and found myself soon surrounded by some tremendously hostile losers trying to play the bar's electronic trivia game. You learn a lot about your fellow man playing Trivial Pursuit, or some equivalent, with them.

And ignorance isn't bliss: these people were bitter, self-absorbed, filled with anger, filled with hatred, highly toxic and unpleasant to be around. In between trivia questions, they spent most of their time griping about their exes and insulting the celebrities on the TV screens. I heard them rage with acidic bile against all manner of stars (and for reasons totally unfathomable to me) but when the whole bar erupted into a transparently racially-charged hate-fest against my pal Tiger Woods, I downed my drink, tossed a bill on the bar and didn't stick around for my change. Call me an asshole, but everywhere I go now it seems, more and more people these days are psychic vampires, and when they walk in, I walk out. I used to think it was only about 2½ percent of the population, but I do believe the statistic is now much higher. And the more I feel their invisible tendrils of negativity sniffing out toward me, the more I prefer the company of dogs. (And cats.)

By chance I grabbed a six-pack of this Kellerweis, which my eyes had never beheld before, at a licka stow on my own back to the plantation, and went back to writing another Great American Novel (currently working on a crime-detective-noir novel called The Bartender, all about a solitary loner beer-puller who has a high sense of moral and ethical principles but finds himself tempted by an opportunity for larceny due in part to the perks of his profession.)

According to their website, "Kellerweis is one of the only American Hefeweizens made using the traditional Bavarian style of open fermentation. This difficult and labor-intensive technique adds uncommon depth and flavor complexity. Our hazy-golden hefeweizen is deeply flavorful, refreshing and perfect for a sunny day. To serve, pour two-thirds into a glass, swirl and pour the rest." I generally prefer to drink my froth from the bottle (stays cold longer) but yes, pouring a bottle-conditioned beer out into a glass is a must. Some like to painstakingly pour such brews down to the last quarter inch and then discard that last bit, choosing to avoid the yeast sediment. Me, I drink it all, the yeast, everything. I think Dan'l Boone and Black Sam would expect no less, and even now, I hear them calling my name.

(And if you think I'm just blowin' smoke with all my negativity about the negativists, tune in this here blog tonight sometime after midnight, cause ol' Jeffy has a big announcement to make.)

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