Another one of the other exclusive Atlanta Beer Week brews I got to try this past weekend was a little diddy called Wrecking Heaven, a collaboration between Wild Heaven in Avondale Estates, GA and The Wrecking Bar Brewpub in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points area.
Wrecking Heaven is a 4.5% Grätzer, a low-ABV top-fermented German smoked wheat beer. (If you’ve never had one, imagine a hefeweizen mixed with a rauchbier.) The beer traditionally contains a mix of Polish and German hops. I’ve had a few grätzers before and I’ve been pretty impressed. Westbrook‘s draft-only beer brewed in the style was my first introduction to it, and the Atlanta-centric collab was just as impressive.
The appearance is that of a classic wheat ale. It’s a hazy straw yellow with a sizable couple fingers of head on top. It left behind some really nice lacing, but no alcohol legs. With a sessionable beer like that, I wouldn’t expect any.
A bacon/campfire smoke note is the strongest thing on the nose. It’s that deep woody smoke note that’s really thick and delicious. Behind that is that rich wheat note you’d get in any German wheat beer. Smells fantastic.
While the nose is great, the flavor is even better. There’s a slight bite on the front of the tongue and a rich, smooth mouthfeel, and while the sweetness of the wheat is definitely noticeable, that liquid bacon smoke flavor permeates everything. It’s thick and sticky. It really is like drinking liquid bacon and works well with the wheat sweetness. The finish has a nice sweeter floral finish to it thanks to the Nelson Sauvin hops used in brewing. It’s certainly a unique beer and is a bit harsh at first, but after a few sips it becomes an extremely drinkable.
Grätzers and smoked beers in general aren’t for everyone, but I’ve always enjoyed them. It’s great to see breweries stretch their limits a bit and try out new styles that aren’t too common. The Wrecking Bar is easily the best brewpub I’ve ever been to – if you’re ever in Atlanta, they are a can’t-miss spot – and Wild Heaven’s brews have always been really solid.
For information on where you can try some, read this post.