As a seasonal drinker, summer is all about wheat beer. I love me a cold, German Hefeweizen (literally translated, yeast wheat) on a hot day. Unfiltered, vom Fass, is even better, like a tall, cool glass of bread.
The best (available stateside) German Hefeweizen:
Paulaner-fruity and a little spicy, one of my favorite beers
Franziskaner-light and citrusy
Erdinger-good for an introduction to Hefeweizen, not terribly cloudy
American brewed Hefeweizen are tasty, but a different animal. Many traditionalists will argue that it’s not a Hefeweizen at all, only wheat beer, since it uses a different strain of yeast. I might be inclined to agree.
American honorable mentions:
Harpoon UFO-bready with a good color, does a nice German impression
Partly Sunny (Ithaca Beer Co.)-doesn’t label itself a Hefeweizen, but does the trick
Denison's Weissbier-brewed in the Bavarian style, unfiltered
And last but not least, I say leave these on the shelf. There are other beers to be had.
No thank you, silly Americans:
Widmer-this one is just plain boring, puts your palate right to sleep
Wine Country Wheat (Bear Republic Brewery)-disappointing, not enough acidity, or carbonation