I suppose it’s somewhat fitting that the first Wheat Beer Week beer I review is a Widmer beer—considering they are arguably best know for their very American Hefeweizen. W ’08 Crimson Wheat is their "Brewmaster’s Release 2008" beer:
The three different red, caramelized, and dark wheat malts give this beer an intense red color that runs as deep as the flavor. The toasted grain flavors blend perfectly with the subtle spiciness of the hops just as the entirety fades to a smooth quick finish.
What’s interesting to me is that the color is drawn out of the wheat malt, rather than falling back on the variously-roasted barley malts that you usually draw red from. I wonder if that requires any special kilning, or if "red, caramelized, and dark" wheat is readily available to brew with?
At 4.9% alcohol by volume, this is easy drinking.
Appearance: Deep copper with red tints and fairly clear. Off-white head that didn’t last very long. Remarkably doesn’t look like what you’d expect for a wheat (but of course, that’s the point).
Smell: Grainy, wheat nose with a touch of sweetish caramel malt.
Taste: Malty with a crisp wheat tang and the dry character of some roasted grains. Very clean tasting, fairly light with a nice "red ale" character.
Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with a coppery-dry finish.
Overall: Kind of a cross between an American dry wheat with a red ale… not too bad at all but it’s nothing exceptional—a thirst-quenching warm weather beer.