by Alain Schepers Beer sommelier and founder at bierista.nl
Schneider Weisse, 150 years of tradition
Sure, we all enjoy the refreshment of a Paulaner, Erdinger or Weihenstephaner. But for a lot of beer connoisseurs there is only one Weizen that really stands out. And that is: Schneider Weisse. This brewery has been about quality for almost 150 years. They find quality way more important than brewing large quantities of beer to sell more.
The story of Schneider Weisse
What makes Schneider Weisse's beers so special? Of course, it’s how the beer tastes first and foremost, but with Schneider Weisse there is also so much more. For starters, it’s an independent, traditional German family brewery. The brewery in Kelheim in southern Germany is still run by a real Schneider: Georg Schneider VI. It was his ancestor Georg I who founded the Schneider Weisse brewery in Munich in 1872.
He did so at a time when nobody saw anything in Weizen, a beer brewed with more than 50% wheat malt. The bottom-fermented lager was way more popular and drove top-fermenting beers such as Weizen from the market. However, the Schneider family continued to stick to the Weizen tradition.
Certainly in the initial period that was not easy. A little later, there were also two world wars. Shortly after World War II, the brewery was moved from the bombed Munich to Kelheim. During the war, the brewery had to pay for every brew, because Schneider refused to become a member of the NSDAP. This was the reason why the Allies immediately gave Schneider permission to brew and deliver after the end of the war.
Moving the brewery had major consequences. Because Schneider Weisse no longer brewed in Munich, it was no longer allowed to take part in the Oktoberfest in Munich. And that saves - apart from the promotional value - a large pool of beer. In Munich you will still find the Schneider Bräuhaus, a beer bar where tradition and history is shown. There is no brewery, though - that’s located in Kelheim, north of the Bavarian capital.
The only real Schneider Weisse
The original beer from Schneider Weisse is Das Original Tap 7, an amber-colored Weizen that produces new taste discoveries with every sip you take. This is mainly due to the yeast that is added during bottling. As a result, the taste develops further, even if the bottle cap is already on the bottle. The beer is not filtered, which keeps the aromas better preserved than with many other commercial Weizen beers. Another point on which Schneider distinguishes itself, is the so-called open fermentation. Open fermentation tanks are located in the brewery. Partly thanks to this special way of fermenting, Schneider's beers have their own exciting character.
The Schneider Weisse assortment is now made up of ten Weizens, but within this selection you’ll find huge amounts of variety. For example, there is the Tap 3 - Mein Alkoholfrei and the Tap 11 - Meine Leichte Weisse for the lovers of tasteful non-alcoholic and low alcoholic beers. Those who like hoppy beers will love the Tap 5 - Meine Hopfenweisse. There are also heavier beers, such as Tap 6 - Aventinus and the concentrated version Aventinus Eisbock with 12% alcohol. All these beers are ideal for food pairing.
Traditional but innovative
Schneider Weisse is admittedly a traditional German family brewery; the company is also extremely innovative. For example, in the cellar of the brewery beer is laid in wooden barrels. In an old ice cellar in a nearby mountain wall, the beers in bottles mature. And once a year, a Tap X is launched on the market, a one-off specialty anticipated by beer lovers from all over the world.
Schneider Weisse is a relatively unknown beer in the Netherlands, while in Bavaria, it’s a special celebratory beer. Wondering where Tap 1/Tap 2 and so on comes from? The answer is simple: it was once the number of the tap from which the beer was served.