Our love affair with Schneider Weisse (G. Schneider & Sohn) began a few years ago at Ginger Man SoNo. There was a vintage Aventinus (it was aged for 4 years) on the menu that cost us $16, but was well worth it. That first taste was heavenly and fueled an obsession for us. So, when Harry’s of Fairfield reached out to us about a VIP tasting event featuring the owner of Schneider Weisse, Georg Schneider VI, we didn’t hesitate one bit. And, after spending two hours there at the Fairfield Cheese Company tasting table, we have an even deeper appreciation for all their brews.
Yes, we tasted all of their brews, heard the stories behind each one, and even had an exclusive tasting of their brand new distilled beer. How exclusive? Georg had never even seen the bottle before, it was a first!
Before we go through the beers, let’s dig a little into Schneider Weisse. First off, they make only wheat beers and stick true to the German Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Laws). In addition, every single beer from them uses the same yeast…the same yeast they have been using for 100 years. It is their very own yeast, Schneider yeast, but they only use a batch once. Because they use the same yeast in each beer, you can really taste that strain run through all their varieties…it’s really fascinating. All their beers are unfiltered and all the ingredients they use are all natural. Finally, they only use open fermenters and bottle ferment their brews when done.
Now, let’s go through notes, tastings, thoughts, and stories on each beer:
Schneider Original, 5.4%
Light, hints of banana as Renzo from Harry’s pointed out. The Schneider Original is a great go-to Hefeweizen. This is an example of a beer that was brewed by Georg I that is still made today. Georg recommends pairing this with cooked meats and cheeses, but it’s certainly an all day, sessionable, kind of beer in our beer-soaked eyes. Laura from Fairfield Cheese Co. paired this with a Purple Haze chèvre from Cypress Grove that paired very well and had people moaning and groaning. Laura also shared an aged gouda that was phenomenal and ended the night with a bleu cheese that was our favorite from the tasting.
Organic Edel Weisse, 6.2%
Because the brewery moved from Munich to Kelheim, they could no longer take part in Oktoberfest nor say a beer was Oktoberfest style. Instead, they called this bad boy Edel Weisse, making him their unofficial Oktoberfest brew, and he has quite an interesting history. Georg was drinking a Brooklyn IPA at Ginger Man NYC and loved the use of Cascade hops. He was inspired and brought the hops back to Germany to grow. In the brewing process, they use only Cascade. The wheat and hops balance nicely, though the wheatiness is definitely the forward force. Pair with veggies, greens, and seafood.
Schneider Brooklyneer, 8.2% ABV
Georg jested that many Germans would scoff at this combo, but this beer takes Bavarian wheat and adds in a healthy dose of hops. This is actually a crossover beer, brewed with Brooklyn Brewery. The hoppiness isn’t overwhelming at all and is a great entry point for those who might be put off by IPAs. This was an overwhelming favorite of people at the tasting and we bought a bottle home afterwards.
Schneider Nelson Sauvin, 7.3% ABV
Interestingly, this beer is served in a Prosecco bottle and released only once a year. This was first brewed in 2011 in a small batch, making this an even harder to find beer. The Nelson Sauvin was golden in color, rich, and had a butterscotchy undertone.
Porter Weisse, 7% ABV
This is 2014’s specialty brew. Georg VI was recently in London at the White House (let the sentence sink in). It was last call and he decided to mix Schneider Original with a porter. It was so delicious that he decided to brew it. Oh, and we’re glad he did. Schneider Weisse uses roasted dark and wheat malts to add that richness you expect from porters, but due to the blending of styles it doesn’t have that bitter end that you associate with porters. This was another favorite of people in attendance.
Aventinus, 8.2% ABV
The recipe for arguably our favorite beer comes from Georg VI’s Great Grandmother. When this beer first came out, his grandfather’s wish was to name it after a saint…so that’s where the Aventinus name came from. Also, what’s truly amazing is that you’re taking part in history when you take a sip because this is the oldest wheat beer dopplebock in the world. In. The. World. This bestselling beer of Schneider Weisse has also become a Christmastime tradition for George and his family, just like how we’d take out the baked ham. But, don’t you like this tradition better? We do! Like we said before, they also have vintage Aventinus for sale on a very limited basis that you need to get your dirty paws on. These, we found out, are stored for years in a mountain cellar. When its time for the brews to be released, they wrap the aged Aventinus in paper…and that’s how a legend is born.
Aventinus Eisbock, 12% ABV
The Eisbock is made by literally (yes, literally) freezing the water out of the Aventinus and creating a “concentrate.” This process is then repeated a second time to remove even more water. This is really a great beer like the Aventinus, but it definitely packs a punch at 12% ABV! George reccommends putting the beer in a wine glass and scooping in some vanilla ice cream. We like how he thinks.
Distilled Aventinus aged in M. Coureuvr Whiskey Barrels for 36 months, 40% ABV
This was an amazing thing. Georg had actually never seen the finished product (see him looking at it on the right). So, we were tasting something that was a brand new experience for everyone. To create their distilled beer, they hired an outside distiller. The Distilled Aventinus had a vanilla finish and had us going back for more due to its unique taste. Really, this was our first time ever having a distilled beer. They also have Schneider Original and Edel spirits too…and even the Aventinus distilled in French Oak Chardonnay Barrels.
We’d like to thank Patrick and Renzo at Harry’s for being so great to us and letting us take part in this experience. We’d also like to thank Laura at Fairfield Cheese Company for the cheese pairings and being a gracious host in her shop. And, yes, we’d like to thank Georg VI Schneider for paying Harry’s this special visit and spending an amazing night with us.