Schneider Aventinus, Germany

It's easy to forget that wheat beers can be as big, complex, and powerful as any all-barley-malt beer. While big brewers flood the American market with hazy wheat beers served with hunks of citrus fruit (to cover bland liquid, no doubt), the Germans are laughing in their steins of classic Weizenbock style beers. The best of this category: Schneider Aventinus, a velvety smooth, ruby colored brew that is rich in clove and banana, with gentle hints of raisins. This malt and wheat monster – with 8.2 percent alcohol to boot – will remind you what a wheat beer once meant, and still can be. [$5/bottle; halftimebeverage.com]