I had passed over the bottle of Ayinger Weizen-Bock while making my selections. There were more tempting alternatives -- new stuff and a few old favourites I hadn't seen in a while. My arms were already full of bottles when a complete stranger leapt into my field of vision.
"Have you tried this?" he exclaimed, grabbing about four bottles of the Weizen-Bock with one hand.
"No," I said, "I've had the Celebrator, though. It's really good."
"Yeah, it is good" he said, not really listening, "but this is just amazing. The flavours, everything."
He filled his other hand with three more bottles and bounded off, eyes gleaming.
I had never been approached by a random beer fan recommending a beer before, let alone one whose attitude implied that crack cocaine was being used as an adjunct. I wasn't sure if I should chance it or not. Then I noticed the label features a goat wearing a hat: how could I resist?
My recent positive experience with Weihenstephaner Vitus left me looking forward to drinking Ayinger's version, even though they follow the Celebrator pattern by packing it in little 33cl bottles. The pour is unimpressive, with loads of fizz and no sign of that classic big weissbier head. The colour is the same cloudy pineapple yellow as the Hopfen-Weisse by Schneider and Brooklyn.
Having built up high expectations following my experience in the off licence, I confess I was disappointed by the taste. It's only a little more intense than your typical good-quality hefe-weissbier: bananas and cloves, of course, being the dominant notes. I will give it credit for its smoothness: a wonderful silken texture which makes it deceptively easy drinking with the 7.1% ABV barely noticeable.
A good beer, but not one of the great ones. Still, each to their own, eh?