In the mid-nineties, the largest breweries in America were tripping over themselves to introduce Eisbock ("Ice Beers"), a 100-plus-year-old German tradition, to beer drinkers. The idea is simple. Since alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water, breweries can store and filter the beer at sub freezing levels, taking out ice crystals and leaving rich, malty, higher alcohol brew. The result, in the pre-craft era, you might remember, was a slew of beers like Molson "Ice" – flavorless headaches in a can.
Today, Gordon Biersch brewmaster Dan Gordon is showing us what Americans were missing back then. Gordon, the only American to ever graduate from the Brewing Institute of Munich at Weihenstephan, has built his brewery's identity around pitch-perfect executions of classic German beer styles that rigidly adhere to the Reinheitsgebot, Germany's Beer Purity Law of 1516.
With its Braumeister Selekt Weizen Eisbock, Gordon Biersch starts off with a strong, dark, and malty wheat bock that's bursting with caramel, raisin, and banana notes. The "eising" process not only concentrates the alcohol (10 percent), but also the flavor. The result is a hugely full-bodied wheat beer that is silky and dry on the palette, and dangerously easy to drink.
The Weizen Eisebock is a limited release and is available in just 11 states, so snap it up while you can. [gordonbiersch.com]