Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan - Vitus
- ABV: 7.7%
- Bottle Size: 330-ml
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 17
- Serving Temperature: 45-52° F
- Suggested Glassware: Goblet, Chalice, Tulip, Flute
- Malts: Light Barley Malt, Wheat Malt
- Hops: Perle, Magnum
Vitus is a prime example of Weihenstephan’s quality, as this benchmark weizenbock has taken home numerous awards including Gold at the 2018 World Beer Awards, and 2018 European Beer Star. As a style, weizenbock can be thought of as a sort of a mash-up of weissbier and doppelbock. Most tend to be on the darker side, like a big dunkelweizen, but Vitus is brewed in a lighter-colored “helles” style. Expect a very hazy golden hue on the pour, topped with plenty of bright foam. On the nose, we get big, yeast-driven, Bavarian weissbier notes of clove, banana, and light bubblegum, along with touches of dried fruits. Bready malt notes come through with a sweet impression. On the palate, look for the story to continue in the same way as those bubblegum and banana notes merge into dried stone fruits tending towards apricot. It’s quite bready at the core, with a touch of residual sweetness, but it’s nicely balanced by a complex array of spicy clove-like phenols, some wheaty tanginess, light hop bitterness delivering some grassy herbal notes, and a vinous, lightly boozy note which joins with lively carbonation to provide plenty of lift. Weihenstephan is masterful when it comes to wheat beers, and Vitus may just be our favorite of the bunch. We happily consume this brew by itself, sometimes as a nightcap, but many food pairings will work nicely, especially those which play off the beer’s wheat and fruitiness. We’d go with roasted pork loin with gravy or a fruity sauce, glazed ham, apricot cobbler, banana bread, or a snack of Gouda, Manchego, or Provolone Piccante.
From the largest hop growing region of the world, in the heart of beer brewing culture and history, comes the multitude of famed Bavarian beers. From these veteran lands springs a timeline of brewing history that has delivered some of the hallmark virtues of beer making as we know them today, and that stretches back in time for at least three thousand years. It’s our pleasure this month to bring you a traditional beer from a brewery which is recognized as not only the oldest in Bavaria, but the oldest operating brewery in the world!
If you traveled back in time to the mid-12th century in Freising, Germany, to the site of Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan (Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan)—before the days of Da Vinci, Chaucer or Genghis Khan—you'd be standing in a hop garden that was already 400 years old. Somewhere between the year 725 and 768, this hop garden was planted, and its owner had to pay tithes to the Benedictine monastery of Weihenstephan. In 1040 the monastery was given permission to brew and sell beer in Freising, at the modern day site of the Weihenstephan Brewery. And, they’ve been brewing ever since at the site of this original 8th century hop garden. The Weihenstephan monastery's rights to brew and sell beer passed in 1803 to the King of Bavaria after he purchased the brewery for production of beers for his royal court. Today, it is owned by the Free State of Bavaria and is one of only two breweries to be owned by the state (the other is Munich's famous Hofbrauhaus).
In addition to brewing fantastic beers, the owners also use the brewery to teach the art of brewing to students from around the world, as well as to carry out investigations into the processes and equipment used in practical brewery operations. It's not only science that stands to benefit from this but clearly the beer drinker as well, as all of the brewery’s beers are extremely highly regarded and the brewery has taken home numerous awards over its long history and continues to do so to this day. Weihenstephan’s wheat beers, in particular, are especially famous, with many considering their flagship “Hefe Weissbier” to be the best hefeweizen in the world. For more information, visit them at www.weihenstephaner.com.
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