Ayinger Weizenbock

Review Date 8/25/2010   Last Updated 2/27/2020   By John Staradumsky/

Mention the beer style Weizenbock to your everyday beer drinker, and you're likely to get a befuddled stare in response. But mention it to a beer geek, and they'll more often than not reply "Aventinus!". Aventinus is, after all, the classic Weizenbock, and the yardstick by which the style is usually measured.

It's far from the only example of the style, however, and there are plenty of others made in Germany and the United States. What is Weizenbock? It's a wheat beer, usually of the dark variety, brewed extra strong just as a classic bock is. One interesting example with a difference is Ayinger Weizen-Bock, from Bavaria's Aying brewery, located just outside of Munich.

Ayinger Weizenbock is the brewery's winter seasonal, but I enjoyed a carefully preserved bottle in August. This is truly a beer for all seasons: I can imagine the rich warmth of the beer to be comforting in the cold months; the clove and banana make it quenching in the warm ones.

Ayinger Weizen-Bock pours to a dark cloudy yellow color with a towering head of rocky white foam and a delightfully spicy nose of banana and, especially, clove. Ayinger says this is a "pale" Weizenbock, which is relative of course. But that makes sense, after all: there are pale and dark bock beers as well as pale and dark wheat beers, so why wouldn't the same hold true for Weizenbocks?

The palate is of course lighter than say, an Aventinus with its dark brooding flavors. Here, I get more crackery tart wheat as I would in a hefeweizen, along with lots of the banana and clove that the nose promised. It's a bit bready, and there's some vanilla too for good measure. But to be sure, this is a bigger beer than your standard hefeweizen, and the beer has considerable body. It's quite rich, and balanced in the finish by tart wheat and a touch of alcohol warmth.

Ayinger is to be applauded for not going overboard on this one, and sticking to it's traditionalist roots. Here in America, the trend is to jack up the alcohol content of everything and anything and call it "Imperial". This beer defies that trend, and at 7.1% alcohol by volume is stronger than most beers yet not over the top. That's refreshing, in more ways than one.

Delightful with a well seasoned steak fresh from the outdoor grill, a fresh garden salad and a baked potato with sour cream and chives.

Update 2/27/2020: It's been almost ten years since I've remarked upon this remarkable beer, but of course not ten years since I've enjoyed it. I picked up a half liter bottle at Alpine Brew Store & Bottle Haus last October for $3.99, and I'm enjoying it this evening. Merchant du Vin, the importer, says it was first sold in the USA in 2009, and I've been a fan ever since. It seems paler in color than the last time I took notes, but is just bursting with banana, clove, and bready wheat notes.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned