White is hue of summery wearables: but in the realm of beerology, wit, wheat and weiss beers rule the coolers. Wit translates both as “white” and “wheat” in dialects of Flemish and Dutch languages. True to its name, a good witbier should pour into a glass with sparkling gold and straw-yellow colors, accented by billowy white crowns of foam. Flavors in wheat beers range from bright and citrusy, to creamy and yeasty, or spicy with notes of coriander, orange zest and herbs such as chamomile.
Perhaps best known of all witbiers is Hoegaarden, and when you are celebrating the lazy, hazy days of summer with a Belgian-inspired witbier, remember to toast the legacy of brewer Pierre Celis, who passed away in April. Celis revived the Belgian witbier style at his farmhouse brewery in Hoegaarden, Belgium in the 1960s (although the beer is now brewed by InBev around the world).
Pike’s Dry Wit begins with a mixture of organic malts, with Pacific Northwest hops and infused with dried orange peel, coriander, chamomile and lavender. It is unfiltered, slightly hazy and easy drinking at five percent ABV. (Pike Brewing Co.)
Point Belgian White
This brew is modeled after a traditional Belgian wit, straw-gold with foam and moderate alcohol, at 4.7 percent ABV. The beer is brewed with white wheat and wheat malt and flavored with Curaçao orange peel and coriander. It is an excellent match with grilled seafood and salads. (Stevens Point Brewery)
This is a deliciously different take on wheat beer. The brewery uses a Belgian Trappist yeast strain which imparts a subtle peppery note at 5.5 percent ABV, with tart, herbaceous flavors. (Smuttynose Brewing Co.)
This filtered and dry-hopped wheat ale tastes like a pale ale. The ale smells slightly pine-y, followed by wheat malt tartness. It’s refreshing and excellent with barbecue and aged cheeses. (Southern Tier Brewing Co.)
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
This is an American wheat beer brewed with real watermelon, for a flavor that’s crisp and dry. The beer undergoes secondary fermentation using fresh watermelon. A straw-colored, refreshing beer with a light hit of watermelon mingled with Magnum hops and balanced at 4.9 percent ABV. Perfect with salads and grilled chicken. (21st Amendment Brewing Co.)
Mana Wheat is a new American wheat ale from Maui Brewing Co., unfiltered and infused with Maui Gold Pineapple juice. The beer is crisp and refreshing and lightly hopped. Excellent with ceviche and grilled pork kabobs. (Maui Brewing Co.)
312 Urban Wheat
This wheat beer is slightly hazy as it’s unfiltered, easy drinking at 4.2 percent ABV. Crisp Cascade hops smell lemony, followed by mellow yeast flavors, with creamy carbonation. (Goose Island Brewery)
Paulaner Hefe-Weizen (in a new summer can)
A true Bavarian wheat beer, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen is brewed with wheat and two-row barley malts. With its Hallertau Hop bitterness, deep tones of gold, lively effervescence and spike of banana aromatics, Paulaner Hefe-Weizen is refreshing. Now with its new 33-cl. can, it is also and safe for outdoor events where glass is restricted. (Paulaner Brauerei)