How To Breakfast Bavarian Style
The story of how Hefeweizen became one of Bavaria’s most recognizable beer styles, let alone their breakfast-beer of choice, is an unlikely one. After all they were technically prohibited by law for the better part of the last 500 years. When purity guidelines, known as the Reinheitsgebot, were passed in 1516, German brewers were forced to work with only three ingredients: barley, hops and water. This threatened to drastically change the beer industry in Germany, especially for weißbier brewers, whose products were made using malted wheat. Thankfully, however, the undiminished demand for wheat beers, even after the law was passed, encouraged members of nobility to take a vested interest in Bavaria’s favourite ale. They used their influence to allow production to continue, albeit state-controlled, despite such beers being perceived as ‘unhealthy’ at the time.
Though there are many different types of wheat beer in Germany, the ‘Naturtrüb’ style (naturally cloudy) is the most common. Pale and unfiltered, it best exemplifies the name hefeweizen, which literally means ‘yeast-wheat’. The refreshing character of the beer is a by-product of those two ingredients. The use of wheat malts at first creates a thick head and an almost creamy mouthfeel, which dissipates to showcase its high carbonation. Granting that the wheat imparts some of the cloudiness to the beer, it’s the touch of yeast sediment, which needs to be extracted from the bottom of any weizen bottle, which gives its trademark haze. Furthermore, yeast is responsible for producing characteristically fruity and phenolic flavours – banana and clove, as well as some citrus.
It’s increasingly common to find these light and effervescent beers on Ontario patios during the warm months, often locally produced. Ontario craft brewers like Big Rig, Muskoka, Silversmith and Side Launch (Denison’s) all produce excellent iterations of the style. While they are a perfect match for the summertime, there’s no reason to put away the ‘hefe’ when the colder weather rolls in.
With Oktoberfest season fast approaching, I suggest trying to breakfast Bavarian-style.
The classic Bavarian breakfast, or second breakfast depending on who you ask, is composed of four key ingredients: weißwurst, pretzel, sweet mustard and hefeweizen. The flavours work remarkably well together creating a very unique (deliciously stereotypical) breakfast experience.
Weißwurst, or white sausage, is widely available in German or European delis throughout Ontario. To properly prepare it you have to heat it in warm, not boiling, water. When it’s warm, make an ‘X’ with your knife at one end and suck the delicious meat from the hole (sounds appetizing, right?). Pretzels can be found at almost any bakery. Their saltiness matches up really nice with the citrus in the beer. Proper sweet mustard, or weißwurstsenf, can also usually be found at specialty stores, however, if it’s also very easy to make your own. I’ve included a recipe below that uses Gose, a slightly sour style of wheat beer. Finally, pick your beer. The LCBO is well stocked with old-world and new world products. I personally chose Muskoka Summerweiss, which is a fine local example.
Recipe – Sweet Gose Mustard
for 4 breakfast portions
120 ml Les Trois Mousquetaires Gose
25 ml Cider Vinegar
1 Shallot (chopped)
50 g Yellow Mustard Powder
3 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Honey
2 Whole Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
1 tsp Parsley Flakes
2 tbsp Mustard Seeds
Salt (to taste)
1. In a saucepan, bring the Gose, Cider Vinegar and Honey to a boil. 2. Add your Shallot and Bay Leaf to the liquid, cover and let cook for about half an hour. 3. In a bowl combine Mustard Powder and Sugar. 4. Strain the liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients and whisk the mixture to avoid clumping. 5. Once the mixture is thick and smooth, add the Mustard Seeds, Parsley Flakes and Salt. 6. Transfer your mustard into a jar or plastic container. 7. Add whole Whole Cloves into the mixture and let it marinate in your refrigerator. 8. For best results, wait two days before using.