Miami Weiss — Great Lakes Brewery, 2013

The nature of the growth of the brewing scene, means that new styles are created, and variations on styles become their own.  This is why we now have pales ales, and American pale ales.  Brewers play with things, blend techniques, and tweak recipes.  Such is the case with Great Lakes Miami Weiss.  There are other similar beers (which I’ll be reviewing today as well), that are really hoppy wheat beers, often using new world hops.  Somewhere in the American Pale Ale to American IPA range, the spices and fruitiness from the wheat beer go amazingly well with the big hops.  I can’t recall if the first one I ever had was Miami Weiss or the Schneider-Brooklyn collaboration Hopfenweisse, but it’s a style of beer I really dig.  Miami Weiss is generally listed as an “American Pale Wheat”, while ones of higher alcohol are generally put under the Weizenbock category.  The former, while being a recent addition makes sense, the latter really only works if you assume that the style has a *lot* of room for interpretation in terms of hops presence.  No matter, getting all hung up on what style a beer is gets really tiresome and boring, so we’ll just drink beers that taste good, and leave the hair-splitting and train-spotting to the uber-geeks.

Imcidentally, I just realized that I reviewed Miami Weiss when it was at the LCBO in 2011. You can read the review here, and note how consistent it’s been, and also how much better my photographs on this blog have gotten.

Miami Weiss — Great Lakes Brewery

Miami Weiss — Great Lakes Brewery

From a lovely silk-screened 650ml bottle featuring the new artwork Great Lakes has been using, created by Garnet Gerry and Fabian Skidmore (check their work at, Miami Weiss pours an opaque yellow, with hints of orange and  brown through the centre.  A big fluffy 2″ white head dropped to a really dense layer.  The Aroma is big evergreen hops, white grapefruit, something a little dank and spices associated with weisse yeast.  The taste, considering how aggressive it is, actually starts out gently, sort of.  Immediately there are florals and a pleasantly light body with a prickly carbonation.  Then everything else kicks down the doors to the tea-party in your mouth and stomps all over your palate.  Lemons, grapefruit, pine and an earthiness.  A touch of tropical fruit, maybe pineapple or lychee, along with some sweetness and a wheat-tang.  The finish is quite bitter, with a trace of the sweet fruitiness lingering.  Some ginger notes come out as the beer warms, and the evergreen becomes more prevalent.  Such a great beer, big and aggressive, yet still somehow quite drinkable.

Cheers to Great Lakes!

Buy Miami Weiss Wheat Ale

I assume there are still some bottles kicking around the retail store out at Great lakes in Etobicoke, but it is also currently available at the LCBO #194241 .

Drink It With

This is an interesting one, and actually a bit of a tough question across the style.  Cheese is actually pretty easy, a nice funky hard cheese, like a farmhouse cheddar, that’s going to show some fruitiness, as well as a solid barnyard funk.  Fatty enough for the to benefit from the sharp wheat tang to cut, this could be a killer combo.  For a meal you’re going to want to think about using the classic hops/spicy pairing, but probably also pay tribute to it’s (bastardized) German heritage.  So I’ve got it:  A nice spicy Italian sausage, with sour kraut and a good hot mustard.  If you can get it on tap at WVRST with one of their excellent sausages, all the better.

About The Brewery

Great Lakes Brewery LogoIndependently owned by the Bulut family, we produce our beer as it was done hundreds of years ago by using an open fire, copper brew house built in Germany in the early 1900’s.

Our small-batch brewing process allows us to carefully blend only the finest all natural ingredients to produce our award-winning beers. Our water, hops, malts and yeast are selected from local producers and those afar on the basis of but one criteria; quality.


  1. DRoy
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    The only thing Weiss about this beer is the excuse for Great Lakes to use a clever pun. Clever but confusing to the consumer. The BJCP style is an American Wheat, using Cal Ale or something neutral, and no Bavarian weizen yeast.

  2. chris
    Posted September 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    D, I would argue that Miami “Weiss” is less misleading than some much bigger beer’s claims (I can think of a Canadian pilsner that really isn’t, and an IPA that really really isn’t). The packaging pretty clearly describes the beer, as do pretty well all reviews online. Yes, theoretically, if a consumer saw the (mis-spelled) word “Weiss” they might assume they are going to get a beer in the style of Erdinger Weisse, grab it, and be disappointed. But I would bet that happens almost never. And it is a clever pun. Furthermore “…getting all hung up on what style a beer is gets really tiresome and boring…”

    And for what it’s worth, there is no “American Pale Wheat” category in the BJCP style guidelines. 10A is American Pale Ale, 10B is American Amber Ale and 10C is American Brown Ale. Then they move to category 11, English Brown Ale.

    • DRoy
      Posted September 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      My only reason for commenting was your comparison of Miami Weiss with other hoppy Weiss beers (Hopfenweiss), when in fact it fits quite nicely within it’s BJCP style category; 6D. American Wheat, and no hair-spitting is required. Notable examples include Bell’s Oberon and Three Floyd’s Gumballhead.

      • chris
        Posted September 7, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink

        Haha, you’re totally right and I’m a jackass. I had never noticed American Wheat tucked in category 6. It makes perfect sense, now that I think about it, though, as a hybrid beer.

        And you are right, Miami Weiss does fit in to 6D well, on the hoppier end of the scale. I would still consider it “similar” to the hoppy weizenbocks, but there is no doubt, they are bigger, in booze, hops and yeast presence.

        Thanks for setting me straight!

  3. Posted November 18, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

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