Franziskaner Weissbier

English | Cymraeg

A review of Franziskaner Weissbier - a traditional low-alcohol Weissbier from Bavaria



ABV: 0.5%
Calories per bottle: 105 (21 per 100ml)

If you like your beer authentically cloudy with a hint of herbs, this may be the one for you. Since the 1990s, when Hoegaarden started appearing on tap, drinks variously known as witbier, weißbier, or weissbier have gained a firm foothold in the UK’s beer market (even they haven’t quite staged the takeover some predicted). Whatever your preferred term for them, Franziskaner is one of the best.

If the story is to be believed, Munich’s Franciscan monks have been brewing beer since 1363. It wasn’t until 1984, mind, that Franziskaner Weissbier went on sale outside Bavaria. It’s gone from strength to strength since then.

In 2011, Franziskaner Alkoloholfrei was launched as an alternative for those of us who like to socialise without being under the influence. Like Erdinger Alkoholfrei, it’s marketed at people who like to keep fit, but we understand that gym membership is not essential in order to partake.

As well as tasting great, it’s got the look of a quality beer. Its packaging avoids one major weakness of some alcohol-free beers – that of looking a bit cheap. It was the iconic poster artist Ludwig Hohlwein who put the rotund monk on Franziskaner bottles back in 1935. He’s still there, smiling quietly with his eyes closed, dreaming his beery dreams.

Although they’re not so easy to get hold of over here, since 2015 Franziskaner have also been brewing alcohol-free beers with added lemon, orange, and elderflower, all of which have picked up prizes at the World Beer Awards.

And as for what exactly a witbier, weißbier, or weissbier is, that depends who you listen to. “White beer” is the usual translation, but “wheat beer” is another option. So, take your pick.

Drydrinker and Wise Bartender are online suppliers of low-alcohol and no-alcohol drinks. When you buy drinks from them using these links, Alcohol Change UK gets a proportion of the sales, helping us work to end the harm caused by alcohol.