It’s Clear That Rahr’s Latest Visionary Brew Isn’t Your Average Kristalweizen.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Rahr & Sons Brewing‘s Visionary Brew 2016.

 

Fast Facts on Rahr & Sons Visionary Brew 2016.
Style: Weissbier (Kristallweizen).
ABV: 7 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 30.
Color: Pale straw.
Availability: Limited.

Overview.
Rahr & Sons brews up some specialty and limited release beers on the regular. And since I somehow missed the past Visionary series beers, I had to get my Rahr on when I saw it at Lakewood Growler. The Visionary series sort of reminds me of Stone’s Epic series, where each year it’s a different style of beer. So, a vertical tasting on a series such as Rahr’s Visionary series might not make total sense. But that’s not exactly the point, so no big deal. According to its website, the Visionary series represents a “collaboration with the Fort Worth Weekly that features label art from local, up-and-coming artists.” Cool!

Background on Weissbier.
Visionary Brew 2016 fits in to the main category of weissbier. The weiss style comes from Germany — the motherland of beer — and it’s a wheat ale, with noticeable phenolic and ester notes (that’s clove and banana for you noobs). It also normally has a high level of carbonation and a firm, foamy head. VB2016 is most akin to a heffeweizen in style, so if you’ve had a heffe, then you’re already pretty close to understanding this beer. The kristallweizen sub-sub-categorization of this style refers to the beer’s clarity. This is a filtered heffeweizen. Crystal-weisse. Got it?

 

Appearance.
VB2016 pours a bit hazy at first, but then it turns wicked clear just a few minutes in to my first pour. There is a noticeable and appreciated firm white head, and a foam ring with webby lacing creeps slowly down the glass. One note about this style; most beers are brewed with a very healthy dose of wheat malt, some even over 50 percent wheat base malt. And a calling card of this wheat beer style is a healthy amount of head. Of all eventually-clear beers, this beer is up there. No, it’s not like Miller Lite clear, but c’mon, what is?

Aroma.
VB2016’s main nose elements consist of those classic heffe aromas of banana and clove. There’s really no better way to get around this catch-all sort of description. It’s just, well, there. And it’s good. There is something else, though, that I will focus on. And this sort of aroma is not typically found nor recommended with a Weiss style beer. There’s some noticeable hop aroma. The nose on the hops is reminiscent of citrus. I took a look back at Rahr’s website and I learned that this beer is hopped with Citra. No doubt there’s some citrus twang going on. One other important note on the hop aroma is that this is a dry-hopped beer. Weissbier is not normally dry hopped. Sorry, Duetcshland, sometimes these Americans have to get their dry hop on and fuck up your style a little bit.

Flavor.
The weissbier style is present in the flavor department, but it’s not as bready as I thought it would be. I thought I tasted a little bit extra kick from hop additions, and I was a few sips in to this first drink before I consulted Rahr’s website for hopping information. The hops are nice, but they’re almost distracting. If you’re looking for a more pure approach to a weissbier, you may feel weird when you drink this one. But I’m not saying that this beer isn’t totally refreshing and super-clean drinking; I could drink this beer all night.

 

Mouthfeel.
The mouthfeel is on point with VB2016, and the beer doesn’t seem boozy at all for its slightly raised 7 percent ABV. Most weissbiers are in the 4-6 percent ABV range, just so you know. But VB2016 drinks like a lower-alcohol beer. However, the warming sensation and good times are slowly setting in as I finish this first pour. OK, so my brain is telling me that it knows that this beer is slightly higher on the booze. But my mouth is treating this beer like it’s a summer wheat beer.

Overall Impression.
I like this beer. However, I’m not sure how I feel about the extra hops and dry hopping going on. Holy cow, I sound like a total weirdo about this hop thing; I’m a hop-head after all. But in the weissbier style, while the extra hopping is nice and interesting, it seems sort of out of style. So style mongers be warned, this is one of those beers that has one foot firmly planted in the weissbier style, and the other somewhere in dry hop pale ale town. Is this beer a success? Absolutely — a resounding hell yes. I think it’s delicious. So I will end this on a high note. Get your hands on VB2016 if you see it; it’s worth trying while it’s here.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Rahr & Sons Brewing Visionary 2016 a 7.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, June 18. Best Little Brew Fest In Texas at Old Town Lewisville.
• Saturday, June 25. Brew Bus Father’s Day Tour.
• Sunday, June 26. Toadies Concert/Hell Below and Stars Above Release Party at Martin House Brewery.
• Sunday, July 16. One-Year Anniversary at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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