It's a busy time of year here at 99 Bottles, with spring beers and summer beers mingling and vying for attention like middle-schoolers at the local carnival. Regrettably, my focus has stopped off somewhere between South Station and Penn Station, the result of my day job covering basketball interfering with my night job sipping beer. I realize I'm not going to get much sympathy from the 9-to-5-crowd.
There's something inherently hardworking about brewers, though, and there's something admirable about a brewery that strives to use local ingredients. Worcester's Wormtown Brewery uses Massachusetts ingredients in each beer they make. Mass Whole Hefeweizen, a limited release, is brewed with multiple local ingredients. Four Star Farms in Northfield grew the wheat and Magnum hops, while Valley Malt in Hadley grew the barley.
Hefeweizen is a Bavarian style unfiltered beer brewed with at least 50 percent wheat. The beer is characterized by a spicy clove and banana aroma. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is the standard bearer of the style.
Wormtown's take on the classic German style pours a pale straw color into a tulip glass. I get the phenolic smell of banana, spice, and bubble gum.
The first sip reveals more of those same flavors, with dry white pepper and a touch of charred wood. The beer is not as spicy as I would like, though there's a bit more of the pepper as the beer warms. The finish is smooth, barely lingering on the palate. Swirl the beer around to reveal some trippy lacing on the side of the glass.
This is a good warm-weather beer. It's also a good entry point into craft for fans of beers like Blue Moon, though it may not be super exciting for craft geeks. Mass Whole Hefeweizen checks in at 4.9 percent alcohol by volume and 13 IBUs (international bitterness units). In another sampling I found two Wormtown IPAs, Be Hoppy and Hopulence, to be above average. You can read my predecessor's review of Be Hoppy here.