It’s almost summer, and as the days get longer and hotter, there aren’t many better beer styles than Witbier. But it almost didn’t exist.
In 1955, the traditional Belgian style, dating back to the 1800′s, had died. 10 years later, Pierre Celis took his father’s washtub and went to work in an old brewery. The result? Hoegaarden. Celis had struck a nerve, and the population in his town responded by growing his brand. Now, Hoegaarden is distributed nearly worldwide, and nearly every major brewery wants to brew a similar beer.
Witbier is a light to medium bodied Belgian ale with typical notes of coriander and orange peel. Brewed with wheat and fermented with a characteristic Belgian yeast strain, the beer finishes fruity, a bit grainy, and clean. Often hazy, this beer carries a big head, a powerful aroma, and looks great in a glass – with or without a slice of orange.
PHBW carries several, but some to try are pictured above:
Hoegaarden – the original (now owned by Anheuser/InBev)
Blue Moon – one of the largest “crafty” brands in America (owned by MillerCoors)
Allagash White – American craft, and one of the best examples of the style
Dentergems – a traditional Belgian take from a smaller Belgian brewery.