Booze factor: Light to medium-enough-to-say-you'll-have-another (4.3-5.6%)
How's it taste: A vibrant nose leads to a full-bodied palate bursting with notes of banana, clove, and bubblegum with plenty of carbonation to boot.
What you should know: In Germany, brewers must use at least 50% wheat in the malt bill (although some go up to 70%). Wheat has more protein than barley, which is what gives the beer its hazy appearance and thick, pillowy head. And don't let those banana, clove, and bubblegum flavors fool you: they're all from fruity esters created by the yeast during fermentation, not from brewers adding Bubblicious to the fermentor.
What you should eat with it: If you can find a more perfect pairing beer for brunch foods like pancakes, eggs Benedict, or quiche, let us know. It's also great with fruit salads. Or steamed mussels. Basically, we're calling this one of the more versatile options out there.
Prime examples: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, Kulmbacher Kapuziner Weissbier, Schneider Weisse Original, Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen, Naparbier Hefeweizen
Booze factor: Light to medium (4.3-5.6%)
How's it taste: Imagine your favorite weissbier, but made with darker malts, maintaining the banana and clove flavors while adding bread crust and caramel to the palate.
What you should know: Even though the paler versions are popular today, darker wheat beers are historically what were more commonly drank throughout Germany.
What you should eat with it: BBQ and other roasty flavors love dark wheat beers, but it's a truly amazing complement to Mexican mole dishes. Trying it alongside banana bread should be on your beer bucket list.
Prime examples: Erdinger Weissbier Dunkel, Andechser Weissbier Dunkel, Ramstein Classic, Shiner Dunkelweiss
Booze factor: Medium-strong to strong (6.5-9%)
How's it taste: A deeply malty beer with toasty and dark fruit notes, with the same banana and clove notes you expect from a weissbier. Some versions can be aged, too.
What you should know: Simply put, these are higher-octane dunkels weissbiers brewed up to doppelbock strength (thus, the name) to compete with their popularity in the early 20th century. These days, they're often released as winter seasonals or holiday beers, which coincidentally makes getting through those stressful family dinners so much easier!
What you should eat with it: If you forget to pop this alongside your holiday ham, you can still enjoy it with your Black Forest chocolate cake for dessert. Strength in versatility!
Prime examples: Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus, Edelweiss Gamsbock, Le Trou du Diable Shawinigan Handshake, Southern Tier Goat Boy, Victory Moonglow Weizenbock