Fun to say, good to drink
Hoegaarden witbier is an unfiltered, naturally cloudy, 4.9 percent alcohol wheat beer from Hoegaarden Brewery, owned by beer giant InBev.
When pouring leave the last half an inch or so of the beer in the bottle, swirl it then finish the pour. This gives its traditional cloudy or white appearance by mixing the yeast that settled to the bottom of the bottle back into the beer. The village of Hoegaarden in Belgium has been known for brewing witbiers or white beer since the middle ages. The style all but died out before Pierre Celis, a milkman, revived it in the 1960s. Celis went on to found Celis Brewery in Austin, Texas, where he brewed the original Hoegaarden recipe. Celis sold his Austin brewery to Miller Brewing and relocated back to Belgium to explore other brewing opportunities.
Its color is a cloudy straw hue with a substantial head that dissipates, leaving a thin layer of bubbles while a floral lemon scent tickles the nose. The first taste that hits me is a fruity, spicy flavor that finishes clean and crisp. This is a drinkable example of a Belgian witbier; a good alternative to a pilsner on a hot day. Pair with scallops, shrimp or a light salad.
Rating: 3 caps
Will every beer one day be owned by InBev? Seriously, this monster company — which actually purchased Anheuser Busch, maker of Budweiser, a few years back — is everywhere in the beer world.
Conglomerate control aside, I have quite a love affair going with Hoegaarden’s witbier and its easy drinking, good-any-time style. Light, crisp and refreshing, this beer still manages to pack in interesting flavors, being seasoned with orange peel and coriander.
The orange peel gives the beer a hint of citrus — a little dab of sour — without becoming overly fruity or descending into repugnant tartness. Coriander has recently become one of my favorite ways to add some zing to pork, chicken and soups in cooking. The spice typically helps give gin its unique flavor, and here it seasons Hoegaarden with a peppery finish that teases the taste buds but doesn’t burn the palate.
This is one of those beers that gives me a serious hankering for some cheese to go with it. If I’d had some feta or havarti or cheddar on hand, I would’ve eaten the whole block and washed it down with a Hoegaarden without blinking.
Rating: 4 caps