Mac’s Cherry Wheat is my vacation brew – created to enhance our summertime beach house vacation experience. I tasted this brew on Thursday June 21st, to get an idea of it’s worthiness to serve to my fellow beach goers.
The color is dark golden with a slight reddish tint, cloudy as one would expect from a hefeweizen. This hefe is an American style, quite different in flavor from a Bavarian style hefe. As with any hefeweizen (American or German) it should be highly carbonated. I sampled one bottle less than three weeks from bottling and noted that it is well carbonated, but not as highly carbonated as the style calls for. Maybe another week or two of bottle conditioning will correct that.
It has a sweet cherry aroma, but the flavor is overwhelmingly that of tart cherries. In that regard, I would characterize it as similar to a kriek (a Belgian tart cherry beer; compare to Lindemans Kriek – a sweet/tart cherry ale). It has a very nice wheat aftertaste (5 – 10 seconds after swallowing), a testament to it’s American hefeweizen roots. There is no hoppiness, just as one would expect with a hefeweizen.
This beer is very good, but I would not drink it to excess. The tart flavor is front and center, which is a result of adding a lot of real cherry (puree) to the primary fermentation. There is no doubt that the fruit in this beer is cherry (the flavor is unmistakable), but it is more tart than I had hoped for. If I brew something like this in the future, I will not add real fruit (cherry) to the fermenter; I will only add cherry flavor concentrate to the bottling bucket (or to the keg).
So, in summary, I would describe this as a good beer, but not necessarily a crowd pleaser. It’s more tart than I like, although it’s similar to a Belgian kriek, and someone who likes sour beers (like Flemmish reds) would probably like this. I’m not sure that the usual suspects at the beach house will like this. I might have them sample it before I bring it with me to serve at the beach. If they don’t like it, I will leave it at the pub and enjoy it myself during the summer.
This beer should be considered health food. It’s made from grain (barley and wheat), water, hops (vegetable) and fruit (cherry). I guess you could say it’s good for you, so drink up, enjoy and get healthy. Cheers!