Witbier (Dutch - "white beer") is based on the Belgian tradition of using flavourings such as coriander and orange peel. It is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium, although there are also examples in the Netherlands and elsewhere. It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins which cause the beer to look hazy, or white, when cold. It is a descendant from those medieval beers which were not brewed with hops, but instead flavoured and preserved with a blend of spices and other plants referred to as "gruit". It therefore still uses gruit, although nowadays the gruit consists mainly of coriander, orange, bitter orange, and hops. The taste is therefore only slightly hoppish, and is very refreshing in summer. The beers have a somewhat sour taste due to the presence of lactic acid. The suspended yeast in the beer causes some continuing fermentation in the bottle.
Witbier differs from other varieties of wheat beer in the use of gruit. French regulation (the territory was French in the 14th century) excluded the use of hops in gruit. Witbier can be made with raw wheat, in addition to wheat malt.
Blah blah blah. Yeah, but what does it taste like? Like a light beer or lager would taste if you added some orange or grapefruit juice, really. Imagine a Hefeweizen with a wedge of orange and you're on the right track. Of course, it's a lot more complex than that, but when you're labeling your product with erotic art by a renowned artist (Lynn Paula Russell) then who cares about technicalities?
|Well I never!|
|I do declare!|