I decided to squeeze a cheapo six-pack of beer into my grocery budget this week, and I picked Widmer Hefeweizen, bottled by Widmer Brothers of Portland, Oregon. (You actually have to be 21 or older to view their website. No underage drinking, virtual or otherwise!)
Now, I have tried many decent brands of Hefeweizen (cloudy wheat beer), including some American brews, though the standard I always go back to - rather, the ideal - is the Franziskaner of Munich, Germany. Even after years of drinking other brands, a single sip of Franziskaner is enough to remind me how vastly superior it is.
On the other hand, if I want to feel better about drinking Boulevard Wheat Beer, or Schlalfy's, or New Belgium Brewing Co.'s Sunshine Wheat, I now know where to turn: the Widmer Bros. Their Hefeweizen is so wretched that the first time I drank it, I suspected a batch of India Pale Ale had been mislabeled. The second bottle was a shade nastier, and the third (which stands on my desk as I write this) was so horrid that I fear I may have been poisoned.
Everything in life is a gift, if you but know how to look at it. I will look upon Widmer Hefeweizen, thankfully, as a reminder of the principle that "you get what you pay for." Next time, chastened, I may buy one less box of mac & cheese and use the balance to upgrade to a six of Sunshine Wheat.