Beer Review: Sonder Brewing’s Schwester Hefeweizen

Here’s something different than what I’ve been doing lately, how about a beer review?

Let me put it this way when it comes to beer: I quite enjoy drinking and trying a variety of beers, and I have over the last decade, but I’m not a connoisseur. That is to say, I’m not knowledgeable about all the different kinds of beers and describing them is even harder. In fact, aside from a select few beers, the beers I try tend to blend together, even the ones I highly enjoy.

The running meme when I try to describe beers is that, “That’s smooth.” That’s pretty much all I got, folks. I can’t wax poetic about the different notes in a beer. It comes down to, is this something I would drink again if I saw it at the store?

This particular beer comes from Sonder Brewing based in Mason, Ohio, which is about 20 minutes from my house, so that was the main appeal of why I grabbed it. It’s always fun to try the locally brewed beers, and this is as about as local as it can get.

The craft brewery’s whole thing, based on the name, is the idea that “every person has a unique story.” Apparently, they even have a podcast to tell those unique stories. There’s a 47-minute one about this beer, but I’m not going to dedicate that much time to one beer review. But if you want to, check it out here.

So the Schwester Hefeweizen, 5.5 percent ABV, is part of their “sibling beers” that they rotate for six months at a time. They are considered traditional German wheat beers. Apparently, this one won the Ohio Craft Brewers Cup Silver Medal.

At 5.5 percent ABV, I consider that a pretty average beer in terms of … intensity, I guess? The ones between 6 and 8 percent ABV take it up a notch, and anything beyond 9 percent is probably going to knock me down after one.

I’m at the old age now where two, maybe three, in one night’s sitting is all I’m looking for. I’m drinking now for the taste, not the perfunctory “let’s get drunk.”

The description on the beer reads, “Sister! A traditional, Bavarian wheat beer with hints of clove, honey, and light banana, finishing with a dash of light spice.”

I will say, this is the first beer I’ve ever encountered that says it has banana in it. Fun fact about me is that I have yet to find anything that has the addition of banana in it and it’s not tasty. Banana is a great addition to most food and drink items. Add in honey and that’s a heavenly combination.

And yes, actually, when I drank this one last night, I did notice the note of light banana. But I also noticed the spice, and I will admit, I’m not a huge spice person when it comes to drinks. In food, spice it up, but drinks, hold it, please.

But that’s apparently the go-to recipe for a Hefeweizen beer, according to Craft Beer, “A German weissbier must showcase the weizen yeast’s one-two punch of fruit and spice to be recognized as a German hefeweizen. The bright fruitiness of banana alongside the pungency of clove allow this beer to work well with a variety of lighter foods, such as salads, seafood and even a variety of egg dishes”

I didn’t pair this with any food, but with a salad sounds interesting.

Also, I enjoy beer covers (and contrary to the adage of not judging a book by its cover, I sometimes will get a beer simply because I like the cover), and I enjoy the German flavor, if you will, to the cover with the dirndls (that’s the name of the outfit you’d probably recognize from Oktoberfest) and German-style lettering.

Overall, I enjoyed the beer. I would knock it down from “above-average” to “average” because of the spice note that doesn’t mix with my palette as much as the banana does. But yes, it was smooth, and yes, I would probably get again. I’d like to try it on draft.

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