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These Wheat Brews are Slam-Dunkels

Mulling over Munich-inspired wheat beers

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Take a walk on the dark side with these three Munich-inspired wheat brews. Two dunkels (one not-so-dark from Bavaria and one ever-so-dark from the United States) and a big bold doppelbock from Munich. Besides being wheat-based, all three have that spicy funk that's related to certain yeast strains more typical in any number of Belgian brews. What could be a clash of cultures and styles works out nicely in this worthy trio.

Ayinger Ur-Weisse

The label says dunkel, but this soft amber brew with a nice froth that holds well is definitely on the lighter side of that style. This beer offers smooth, fruity aromas colored by spicy banana and grain, and there is plenty of creamy malt on the palate with a nice, slightly sour yeastiness that blends well with the supple banana and clove finish.

Lips of Faith Dunkel Weiss

With a clean coffee-colored pour, the head of this beer is a light tan that collapses fairly fast but leaves a lovely lacing. You get banana on the nose, and it's definitely on the ripe side, but the spice component is more coriander and cardamom than clove, with a nice bit of caramel coming through. It's nutmeg and ginger-laced banana bread in the mouth, with a good bit of toasty malt. Honey and caramel come through on the finish along with a crisp hint of citrus.

Schneider Aventinus

Billed as Germany's original wheat doppelbock, it pours a hazy tan-hued amber with a rich and persistent ivory head. Exotic aromas waft from the glass with yeasty fig, nutmeg, rye, dried plum, vanilla, clove and a touch of banana. It's equally rich on the palate, and a core of brown sugar and chocolaty malt dominate. This beer is undeniably sweet but in no way cloying. Secondary flavors include spicy apple fruit and a touch of citrus on the finish.

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