WEIHENSTEPHAN WHITE HOPLOSION (WAIT, WTF?)

A few weeks ago I reviewed the White IPA, an interesting collaboration beer that was an attempt to meld Deschutes Brewery’s hop mastery with Boulevard Brewing’s wheat beer prowess to create a whole new beer style. I also recently noted in our coverage of the BrewDog Ghost Deer release that it seems the increasingly bitter-centric American palate is luring traditional European brewers to tweak classic offerings with experimental hop additions, as in the case of the Duvel Triple Hop. Those two stories came together today as the international distribution company Total Beverage Solution announced the upcoming release of White Hoplosion, a heavily-hopped wheat beer that is a collaboration project between the Faculty of Brewing at the Technical University of Munich and Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest existing brewery and makers of a Hefeweisse that is widely considered to be the finest wheat beer in the world. The last time these guys got together also involved Samuel Adams Brewing with the creation of Infinium, a critically-panned Champagne-like beer. Little is known of this new offering except it will feature fruity flavors balanced by 32 IBU’s of noble Bavarian hop notes, clocking in at 5.3% ABV.

On the face of it, this is a very exciting announcement. Anytime one of the world’s greatest breweries release a new creation, beer geeks and Aleheads around the world will get excited- and don’t get me wrong, the only thing I like more than explosions are hops. But this seems like a very strange move on the part of Weihenstephan as a brand… their logo is one of the most classic and instantly-recognizable symbols of excellence in the world of beer, but the integration of an aggressive over-the-top American craft beer moniker like “White Hoplosion” just doesn’t work. The German graphic designers in charge of this one must have needed a few beers to even work up the nerve to start desecrating that famous crest. They did a nice enough job on the label, but there isn’t much “explosive” about it. The whole thing reeks not of desperation, but maybe an ill-considered attempt to get in on an uber-hopped craft beer revolution, aspects of which whoever green-lighted this operation doesn’t completely understand?

Far be it from me to tell Weihenstephan and a bunch of German brewing scientists anything about making and selling beer, but the hop flavors becoming so popular are the floral, citric, piney notes found in the ubiquitous varieties of west coast IPAs, rather than the more subtle characteristics imparted by European noble hop varietals with lower concentrations of alpha acids. Duvel used Saaz and Styrian Golding for the Triple Hop, but also Amarillo (and also managed to impart what the beer was in the name without besmirching their classic brand).  Either way, I can’t wait to track the progress of this interesting release, but if the Weihenstephan Hopslosion hits US markets with a different moniker, then you heard it (suggested) here first.

Are you excited by this announcement? What do you think of the name?

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10 comments

  1. Kid Carboy Jr. · · Reply

    I am interested in having more agressive, hoppy, noble-hopped beers. Ever since having the Hopfen “Bavarian IPA” at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis, I’ve been convinced that this is an area that we’re missing out on. Some people have tried it and done it poorly, but it can be pretty cool when done right.

  2. I guess I have more of a problem with the marketing than the beer as a concept- I’m sure it will be tasty, but with a name like “Hoplosion” aren’t they trying to evoke in-your-face west coast-style IPAs to an American market?

  3. The Captain · · Reply

    I’m looking forward to the offering. You’d think with a language built for adding words together and a long history of creating unique words (eg schadenfreude), they could come up with a more interesting name. “Uberhoppenweisse” vielliecht? Now that’s an appropriately nonsensical name.

  4. It’s easy to criticize…what would you have named it?

  5. I make a Wheat IPA I call 5 Hoppiness (http://twitpic.com/4h8tbb) and I think the reason it works is because it does go after the floral, citrus flavors. My goal was to make an American Wheat that you wouldn’t have to squeeze a lemon into, and it is one of my most popular beers. I like the idea of blending styles because I do it all the time. I’ll give this beer a try no matter what the name.

  6. Adam: sounds tasty, what hops do you use? I will try the White Hoplosion as soon as I see it and have high hopes, just quibbling about the branding which of course doesn’t effect the beer.

    Steph: I beg to differ, criticism this petty and obnoxious requires a certain skill. But if pressed, I would certainly prefer the Captain’s suggestion of “Uberhoppenweisse”, as I want my Weihenstephaner to sound like it’s brewed in Bavaria, not San Diego.

    Or how about this little gem that popped out of Google Translate: “Explosionsgefahr Hopfen!”

    What self-respecting Alehead wouldn’t pick up a bottle of that on sight?

  7. I shoot for a standard Widmer Wheat clone then I do five hop additions that include Amarillo, Centennial, and Cascade. When Amarillo is nowhere to be found, I’ve substituted Citra and have been happy with the results.

  8. Sounds great… I’d have liked to see Weihenstephan experiment with at least one American hop, but as Kid Carboy notes maybe aggressive noble-hopped beers are an area of real potential that haven’t but sufficiently explored yet.

  9. The noble hops are so low in alpha acids, I wonder if it is possible.

  10. The Captain · · Reply

    Widmer wheat clone? Isn’t the whole point to have the complexity of a german weisse (ie traditional yeasts) with some big hops?

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