The Schöfferhofer brewery was founded in the city of Mainz – in the Rhineland – south western Germany.
Unusually it’s not named for the brewery’s founder, but for Peter Schöffer, a noted early printer and associate of Johannes Gutenberg. After extensive (and I mean extensive) research, I’ve been unable to find any record of when the brewery was actually founded, but Peter Schöffer’s face adorns both the beer label and the brewery’s interpretation of the classic weissbeer glass.
The brewery merged with two other breweries in 1921, the Frankfurter Burgerbrauerei and the Hofbierbrauerei Schofferhof to form Schofferhof-Binding-Burgerbrau AG and production was moved to Frankfurt am Main in Hesse, central Germany – outside Bavaria. As such, it has to be called a ‘Hefeweizen’ instead of a ‘Weissbier’.
Schöfferhofer has effectively created (and subsequently dominated) the wheatbeer market in Hesse.
These days Schöfferhofer is brewed at the massive Binding brewery in Frankfurt – Germany’s largest brewery. Binding is in turn owned by Dr. Oetker who are possibly better known for yoghurt and frozen pizza.
Schöfferhofer claims to be the 4th most popular wheat beer in Germany, and is widely exported – I think it’s even available at EPCOT.
Coops reviewed the Schöfferhofer Kristallweisen for The Brew Club back in 2008, but this one is the unfiltered hefeweissen with its distinctive orange label.
Interestingly, it pours cloudy (as you would expect from a Hefeweisen) but slightly darker than most wheat beers, most are a summer barley colour, while Schöfferhofer is definitely just a shade darker. The head, however, is full, foaming and brilliant white (heck – I’m beginning to sound like a paint colour chart), leaving a healthy lacing as the drink goes down.
The nose was ‘drier’ than I expected, yes there were subtle hints of banana and clove that I was anticipating, but these were almost completely masked by a yeasty ‘bready’ nose. Not unpleasant, just not quite as I expected. German brewers resist adding cloves and orange peel to their brews like the Belgians do, so a German wheat beer always has a more subtle nose than a Belgian.
The flavour is smooth and crisp, there are some citrus notes, maybe grapefruit, and the background banana flavour. It’s very refreshing – I’ve heard it described as quaffable – and it goes down very easily.
Overall, and I’ll risk the wrath of Schöfferhofer fans here, I consider this to be a second division wheat beer. It’s crisp and refreshing, but not quite up there with the classics like Franziskaner or Weihenstephaner.
Checking back at our Beer Rating system this falls into the “Something that does what it sets out to, I’d be happy to drink it again.” So that’s three stars, but I think I’d revisit my rating of Franziskaner and give them 3½ or maybe 4.
Bob the Brit