What is Witbier? The Best Witbiers You Must Try Right Now (2023)

Let’s face it, today’s exploding craft beer scene, not to mention the huge range in European beer styles can leave even the most dedicated hop-head scratching their head and confused.

Witbier, schwarzbier, hefeweizen and pale ales are just a few beer styles in the world of beer. Not to worry, this guide will have you name dropping witbiers, a style of beer that is currently enjoying a huge awakening of interest and earning a healthy place in the global beer market share.

There will be overlaps with Hefeweizen, which is a German wheat beer, but we will guide you through the distinct differences between the beers.

Jump To a Section Below

  • What Is Witbier?
  • A History Of Witbier
  • How Is Witbier Made?
  • What Does Witbier Taste Like?
  • What Foods Can You Pair With Witbier?
  • What Are The 10 Best Witbier Beers To Try Right Now?

What Is Witbier?

What is Witbier? The Best Witbiers You Must Try Right Now (1)

Belgian-style witbier ( “Wit” means “white.”), is brewed using unmalted wheat, sometimes oats and malted barley. Witbiers are usually spiced with coriander and orange peel. A style that dates back hundreds of years, it fell into relative obscurity until it was revived by Belgian brewer Pierre Celis in the 1960s.

White beer is a reference to witbier being white as against brown in colour. What differentiates it from other wheat beers, and makes it specific to the region, is the addition of coriander seeds. It has also been made traditionally a bit sour, due to the addition of the wild yeast “bret.”

But witbier has a very old history just like schwarzebier. And this history began, as with many other beers, in Europe.

A History Of Witbier

What is Witbier? The Best Witbiers You Must Try Right Now (2)

(Video) What even is witbier? | The Craft Beer Channel

Witbiers origins as a monastery brew stretch back to at least the 14th century and a time when all brewing ingredients came from local crops. At the time, hops had not yet gained the monopoly they would in the modern brewing world.

Instead, specific combinations of herbs and/or spices known as gruit were used to balance the sweetness of the malt, but both their medicinal and sometimes intoxicating qualities were also welcomed at the time.

The most popular witbier was developed by a Belgium company, near Leuven, called Hoegaarden, after the town where the brewery was located. The farming communities and monasteries in the province of Broadbent, and particularly around the cities of Leuven and Hoegaarden, became well known for their witbiers. By the 16th century, there were over two dozen brewer’s plying their trade in the small village of Hoegaarden.

Also see The Divine Beer: Trappist Beer, A Holy Creation Made By Belgian Monks

By the 19th century, Hoegaarden had expanded its reach to almost 40 breweries across Europe and came to be known for its rustic, super white beer.

In the 20th century, Hoegaarden fell out of favour after World War 1 and the near annihilation of Belgium as a country. After yet another world war, Hoegaarden closed its doors in 1957.

Fortunately, one of the men who had worked in the last Hoegaarden brewery reopened the brewery more than a decade later in the 1960s. Celis could be cited as helping start a social movement. In 1965, he built a small brewery in his shed and after experimenting with various witbier recipes, released his first Belgian wit to the public in 1966.

It found a willing and enthusiastic public, punters who were ready for a backward glance and rediscovery of styles left behind in the rural landscape of the country’s past. Riding the coattails of his unexpected success, other brewer’s dug in attics and dusted off old witbier recipes.

Pierre Celia helped bring witbier, and wheat beers, back into favour throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Sadly in 1985, his brewery burned down and the beer giant, Anheuser Busch, now AB Inbev, bought the Hoegaarden brand and began marketing this crisp white beer worldwide.

(Video) Battle Beers: Tasting the Best Witbiers! - Ep. #2519

So how does one differentiate witbier from Hefeweizen or wheat beer for that matter?

The major similarity between the two styles is that they are both brewed with wheat.

The biggest difference is that they are from two completely different regions in Europe. Hefeweizen is a German-style of beer while Witbier is a Belgian style of beer.

While there is little difference between Belgian, German, and Dutch Witbiers, each can be mistaken for the German weizenbier. Also known as Weissbier or Hefeweizen, weizenbier is also a wheat beer. The key difference between witbier and weizenbier is that the latter is made with malted wheat, while Witbier is a blend of malted and unmalted wheat. Wezenbiers may also use yeasts that are cultured to produce the flavour of bananas and cloves.

Also see Malty Goodness: Guide to Belgian Dubbel Beer

Witbier is made like most beer with a mash of grains and added yeasts and flavourings during fermentation. It is then aged in vats or barrels.

How Is Witbier Made?

Witbier, white beer, bière blanche, or simply witte is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands.

It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins, which cause the beer to look very hazy, or white when cold.

Witbiers are unfiltered and brewed with a high level of wheat and are typically spiced with coriander and orange peel. Witbiers have a characteristic crisp finish due to the high carbonation. Some brewers may also use oats in the mash.

Right now that we have that sorted, let’s move onto the fun side of things to see how witbier tastes and what to drink it with.

(Video) How to make a Raspberry Witbier

What Does Witbier Taste Like?

Witbier is malty-sweet with a hint of vanilla and/or a honey taste combined with a citrus/orange zest of the fruit, thanks to the addition of orange peel. Witbiers also do not have a very strong wheat flavour and there usually is some tartness.

There is a complex mix of herbal spiciness, including coriander, which should be noticeable but not overwhelming. Hop flavours will be low if at all. Bitterness will be low, unobtrusive, and should not carry into the finish. Witbier is yeasty and bready.

Serve your witbier in a tulip glass at around 7°C to bring out that gorgeous white haze.

Before we suggest the 10 best witbiers you must try right now, let’s have a look at the delicious pairings that make witbier a great food beer.

What Foods Can You Pair With Witbier?

What is Witbier? The Best Witbiers You Must Try Right Now (3)

The key word here is light and fresh.

Wheat beers are fabulously flexible when it comes to food matching ̶ the beer world’s equivalent of a crisp white wine.

As witbiers don’t have a very strong and distinctive taste, they can easily be swamped if paired with heavy dishes with rich sauces and spices and disappear completely.

Pairing your witbier with salads, shellfish, and seafood will help you get the most out of your witbier.
There are two main styles of witbier ̶ the cloudy, citrusy, aromatic Belgian-style witbier (aka bière blanche) and the richer banana-and-clove flavours of German hefeweizen or wheat beer.

Also see All About Lambic Beer And Its Many Incarnations
(Video) Blind Tasting Cheap Vs Expensive Witbier | Is More Expensive Worth It?

In between are a range of wheat beers from different sources which fall somewhere between the two but are basically suited, like witbier, to salads, seafood and dishes flavoured with citrus and herbs.

Good matches for Northern French and Belgian style witbiers include:

  • Seafood such as crab, mussels, oysters and clams
  • Simply prepared fish like fried or grilled sole or plaice
  • A good fishcake is heavenly with witbier
  • Smoked salmon or trout
  • Dim sum and other light Chinese dishes such as stir-fries
  • Sushi
  • Raw fish such as ceviche and tartare
  • Calamari or whitebait
  • Seafood pasta and noodles like crab linguine with chilli and coriander or pad thai
  • Seafood and light vegetable risottos
  • Seafood-topped pizza
  • Spring vegetables such as peas, beans and asparagus
  • Light fresh cheeses such as young goat cheese, sheep cheese and feta.
  • Salads, especially mozzarella basil and tomato salad, Greek salad and Caesar salad
    Brunch dishes.

With all this yummy food uppermost in our minds, wanna get to that beer?

What Are The 10 Best Witbier Beers To Try Right Now?

This list could be endless so we’re going to stick to just 10 of the best. Hopefully, the witbiers featured on the list will lead to an exciting journey of discovery. Let’s dive in.

  1. Perennial Artisan Ales Daydreaming
  2. Ritual Brewing’s Wit’s End
  3. Badger State Brewing Walloon Witbier
  4. West Brewing Doom Pedal
  5. Funkwerks White
  6. Avery Brewing White Rascal
  7. Fly Llama Brewing Bridget
  8. Reuben’s Brews Lilywhite Wit.
  9. Ghostfish Brewing Company Shrouded Summit Belgian White Ale
  10. Brasserie du Bocq Blanche de Namur

With this list of 10 of the best, what does the market tell us when we ask what is the most popular witbier brand around?

According to Beer Advocate, a US brewery comes out tops with something called Apricot Funky Wit from Perennial Artisan Ales.

So do try witbier now that summer is coming up. Not only do they pair beautifully with light and summery food such as seafood and salads but witbiers enjoy a light enough complexity to keep them interesting.

They won’t overwhelm, are not too bitter but be warned. Belgian-styled beers can have a high alcohol content. Be sure to read your labels.

Cheers!

FAQs

How would you describe a Witbier? ›

A Witbier is a Belgian-style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat (and sometimes oats) that's used in the mash.

What is typically added to Belgian witbier to create its distinct perfumy flavor? ›

Belgian-style witbier is brewed using unmalted wheat, sometimes oats and malted barley. Witbiers are spiced with coriander and orange peel.

Is Witbier the same as wheat beer? ›

In Belgium, Witbiers (“White Beers”) are made with 30 to 60 percent wheat in the grain bill, but they use unmalted wheat. Witbiers taste fruity like their German cousins; this isn't as much from the yeast strain but rather from other additions to the brew.

How do you serve witbier? ›

A tulip glass is the traditional way to serve a Witbier. You don't want a Witbier too cold either, 40-45 ℉ is the ideal serving temperature. Witbier pairs well with light food such as shellfish, salads or cheese. If you have a bottle of home brewed Witbier to spare, it also acts as an excellent marinade for chicken.

Is Blue Moon a witbier? ›

Blue Moon Belgian White (branded as Belgian Moon in Canada) is a Belgian-style witbier brewed by MillerCoors under the name the Blue Moon Brewing Co. It was launched in 1995, and was originally brewed in Golden, Colorado.

What is BUHO witbier? ›

Buho Witbier (4.5% V/V) lays emphasis on yeast strain, unmalted wheat, barley malt, Belgian hops, spiced with coriander, orange peel and ginger. Buho is available in 500-ml cans in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa.

What is a Belgian-style witbier? ›

Belgian witbiers are unfiltered and cloudy, (“wit” means white) which is why they're creamy and smooth to sip. They feature bright, perfumey aromas from the use of orange peel, coriander and sometimes other spices, while wheat, and traditionally oats, lend bready notes to this beer.

Is a witbier carbonated? ›

Most Witbiers contain a noticeably herbal taste, and the mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Witbier is heavily carbonated, and it is characterized by bubbles that rise fast. Generally, a bitter or excessively hoppy taste is not considered acceptable.

Can you drink beer that expired 2 years ago? ›

The short answer is that yes, beer expires. But saying the beer expires is a bit misleading, it doesn't actually become unsafe to drink, it just starts to taste unappealing or flat.

Can you drink 3 year old beer? ›

Yes—but its flavor will degrade over time. Beer is a perishable product that stales when it's exposed to light, oxygen, and heat, which degrade the organic compounds that make beer smell and taste great. But even when its flavor is declining, it can be perfectly safe to drink.

Can beer go bad in the fridge? ›

The Average Shelf Life of Beer

Most beers last beyond the printed expiration date on the package. When stored at room temperature, you can expect beer to last for six to nine months beyond the use-by date. Refrigeration increases this time period to up to two years.

Which beer is good for health? ›

The highest phenol concentrations are available in brews like Yuengling Light Lager, Abita Purple Haze and Left Hand Good Juju. Yuengling provides full flavor while staying light on calories. A typical glass of Yuengling Light Lager contains approximately 99 calories, and still contains those healthy phenol benefits.

What is the difference between weissbier and witbier? ›

Weißbier (German – "white beer") uses at least 50% wheat to barley malt to make a light coloured top-fermenting beer. Witbier (Dutch – "white beer") uses flavorings such as coriander and orange peel. Belgian white beers are often made with raw unmalted wheat.

What's the difference between a hefeweizen and a witbier? ›

Main Differences Between Hefeweizen and Witbier

Hefeweizen is relatively clear in appearance whereas Witbier is very hazy and cloudy. Hefeweizen has overtones of banana, clove, and vanilla or bubblegum whereas Witbier has overtones of spices and citrus such as coriander and orange.

What goes well with witbier? ›

In an American-style brunch, a citrusy Witbier can replace the classic orange juice and accompany quiches, omelets, tacos and pies, especially if they include basil, parsley, mint and, more than anything, fresh coriander.

Is witbier a light? ›

Witbier means “white beer” in Dutch.

Belgian-style witbiers–which literally translates to “white beer” in English– are beers that are brewed using unmalted wheat, oats or malted barley. They are quite light beers and contain smooth finish that tend to be a reason that they are a crowd favourite.

Should Belgian beer be served cold? ›

Refrigerate them and they lose a lot of flavor and aroma. For this reason, many Belgian beers are also served cool, especially some of the stronger ones.

Why is Belgium beer so good? ›

Their wide range of flavours, brands, brewing processes and ingredients is one of the main reasons why Belgian beers remain so popular amongst consumers. Since the time of the first Trappist and Abbey beers, the country has had a solid heritage to build upon!

Which beer has the highest alcohol content? ›

Brewmeister Snake Venom

At 67.5% ABV, the brew is not only the highest ABV beer in the world, it's also one of the most worrisome.

What is the closest beer to Blue Moon? ›

If you like the taste of Blue Moon—or Hoegaarden, another popular example—and want to broaden your horizons, start looking for (and asking for) witbier, weissbier, or hefeweizen at your local bar or beer store.

What is Hopper witbier? ›

Made with 30% raw wheat and 70% unmalted barley, Hopper witbier undergoes 7 days of fermentation and 25 days of maturation. It has an extremely smooth and creamy mouthfeel with subtle citrus and well balanced rounded bitterness.

Which is the best beer can? ›

Top 10 Beer Can Brands In India
  • Tuborg Strong Can Beer.
  • Carlsberg Strong Premium Beer Can.
  • Asahi Super Dry Lager.
  • Corona Extra Mexican Lager.
  • Heineken Beer.
  • Kingfisher Premium (Beer)
9 Aug 2022

Is oranjeboom still available? ›

That brewery was sold to Interbrew in 1995 and was closed in 2004 by InBev, Interbrew's successor. Production of the brand Oranjeboom was moved to the Dommelsch brewery. In October 2013, Oranjeboom was relaunched as a "quirky" new European style lager.
...
Oranjeboom Brewery.
TypePilsner
Introduced1671
4 more rows

What beers are witbier? ›

Some examples of witbier: Allagash White, Wittekerke, Hoegaarden White.

Is a Belgian witbier a sour? ›

Certain facts make Witbier not a Sour beer. Witbier does not use wild yeast strains and/or bacteria as Sour beer does. It also does not have the distinct tartness representative of Sours.

Is Wit beer a sour? ›

Wit means “white” in Dutch/Flemish and refers to Belgian-style wheat ale or witbier, known in French as bière blanche. Weisse is the counterpart in German for “white,” most commonly used in reference to the sour Berliner type of beer, but also sometimes to the Bavarian type, as in weissbier.

What is wheat beer called in Germany? ›

Hefeweizen Beer

In German, “hefe” refers to the yeast which remains in suspension giving the German beer its cloudy appearance, and “weizen” denotes the use of wheat.

What beers are Belgian white? ›

List Of Belgian White Beers
  • Shock Top Belgian White Ale. 4.6 out of 5 stars. ...
  • Blue Moon Belgian White Belgian-Style Wheat Ale. 4.7 out of 5 stars. ...
  • Allagash White. 4.8 out of 5 stars. ...
  • Avery White Rascal. ...
  • Hoegaarden Witbier Blanche. ...
  • Wittekerke Belgian White Ale. ...
  • Wittekerke Belgian White Ale. ...
  • New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian White.

Does beer last longer in bottles or cans? ›

To be precise, beer usually lasts for six or nine months after what the label tells you. Cans are most likely to last longer than bottles; darker bottles last longer than clear ones. While they don't rot instantly, they lose their qualities. They may go flat and lose the foam, but they're still drinkable.

Can I pour old beer in the garden? ›

Acts as a Fertilizer

You can use stale beer for watering plants to enrich the soil. Dilute one part of beer, one part of soda with one part of water and use this solution to water the plants occasionally. Using beer can be expensive, so use stale beer.

Can expired beer give you diarrhea? ›

Beer that goes bad — or flat — won't make you sick but may upset your stomach. You should throw out beer if there's no carbonation or white foam (head) after you pour it. You may also notice a change in taste or sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Does unopened beer go bad? ›

Yes, both opened and unopened beer can go bad in the fridge.

In a refrigerator, an unopened bottle or can of beer can last up to two or three years. However, an opened bottle or can will generally only be good for a day before the oxidation destroys all the good flavors.

How long does beer last in body? ›

The half-life of alcohol is four to five hours. A half-life is how long it takes for your body to get rid of half of it. But you need about five half-lives to get rid of alcohol completely. So, it takes about 25 hours for your body to clear all the alcohol.

How long is beer good for unopened? ›

If stored properly in a refrigerated area, bottled beer will last up to six months. If stored in a warm environment, bottled beer can spoil in three months. Other containers, such as crowlers and growlers have shorter shelf lives.

Is it OK to drink beer left open overnight? ›

Once the beer is opened, it should be drunk within a day or two. After that time, in most cases it'll be fine, but its taste will be far from what you've expected (it'll be flat). That means that there's no sense in storing beer after opening – after two days it'll taste stale and you'll probably discard it either way.

What happens if beer is cold then warm? ›

Is it ok for cold beer to warm up? Will that affect the flavor? Shouldn't I just buy warm beer if I have a long drive home? We're happy to report that letting cold beer come to room temperature has no effect on its flavor.

Does letting cold beer get warm ruin it? ›

While letting a cold beer warm to room temperature, and then cooling it again, will not significantly impact the flavor of a beer, if beer is shipped without refrigeration, it may be subjected to very high temperatures. Beer sitting in an unrefrigerated truck in the middle of summer will likely become much too warm.

Which beer is good for liver? ›

After 12 hours, the mice that were given the beer with hops showed less buildup of fat in their livers than the mice that were given ethanol. In contrast, the mice that were given beer without hops had about the same level of fat accumulation in their livers as the mice that were given ethanol.

Is beer anti inflammatory? ›

Clinical studies have suggested that the moderate consumption of beer is beneficial for human health, mainly due to the phenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

How strong is Hoegaarden? ›

First brewed in 1445, Hoegaarden is a wheat beer spiced with coriander and orange peel. It is unfiltered and therefore has a cloudy appearance. In many bars, it is customarily drunk with a slice of orange or lemon. It has an alcoholic content of 4.9%.

What type of beer is Hoegaarden? ›

A unique, authentic Belgian wheat beer with a brewing tradition dating back to 1445, Hoegaarden is totally different by nature. Hoegaarden has a unique and extremely complex brewing process involving orange peels and coriander.

How do you pronounce Wit beer? ›

Weizen/Weiss(e)

German speakers pronounce “w”s the way English speakers pronounce “v”s. The German words “weizen” (wheat) and “weiss” (white) are pronounced with a “v” sound as in “victory” at the beginning. Both words refer to the same style of unfiltered German ale in which at least half of the grain used is wheat.

Is witbier an ale or lager? ›

The BJCP classifies the Witbier beer style as a “Belgian Ale.” It can be found in their guidelines as category 24A. Other beer styles in this category include: Belgian Pale Ale (24B), and Bière De Garde (24C).

Is a witbier hazy? ›

Witbiers are hazy as well, and perhaps that's why they're called “white beers.” Because the wheat used is unmalted, meaning it hasn't had its starches converted to fermentable sugar, these beers have a lighter-bodied mouthfeel than their German counterparts.

Is hefeweizen a lager or ale? ›

Hefeweizen is the most popular of all its Weissbier siblings. This is an unfiltered ale, meaning the brewer's yeast is left in suspension, making the beer cloudy and slightly white looking. The heavy wheat profile gives them a uniquely refreshing flavour.

What is a Belgian style Witbier? ›

Belgian witbiers are unfiltered and cloudy, (“wit” means white) which is why they're creamy and smooth to sip. They feature bright, perfumey aromas from the use of orange peel, coriander and sometimes other spices, while wheat, and traditionally oats, lend bready notes to this beer.

Is a Witbier carbonated? ›

Most Witbiers contain a noticeably herbal taste, and the mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Witbier is heavily carbonated, and it is characterized by bubbles that rise fast. Generally, a bitter or excessively hoppy taste is not considered acceptable.

What is wit style beer? ›

Wit is the identification for Belgian Wheat Ales. They are absolutely different from German or US wheat beers. A Wit must be brewed using at least 25 % of wheat malts. Belgian wheat beers are fruitier, with a slight lemony touch, because the use of coriander seeds, orange peels, and other spices is very common.

What does Hefe taste like? ›

Classic hefeweizens are noted as being sweet and fruity with notes of banana and clove. Some even have a bubble gum or vanilla undertone. It is a wheat beer, so it is heavy and has a rather full body with high carbonation.

What beers are witbier? ›

Some examples of witbier: Allagash White, Wittekerke, Hoegaarden White.

Is a Belgian witbier a sour? ›

Certain facts make Witbier not a Sour beer. Witbier does not use wild yeast strains and/or bacteria as Sour beer does. It also does not have the distinct tartness representative of Sours.

Is Wit beer a sour? ›

Wit means “white” in Dutch/Flemish and refers to Belgian-style wheat ale or witbier, known in French as bière blanche. Weisse is the counterpart in German for “white,” most commonly used in reference to the sour Berliner type of beer, but also sometimes to the Bavarian type, as in weissbier.

What is witbier made of? ›

Witbier, white beer, bière blanche, or simply witte is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands. It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins, which cause the beer to look hazy, or white, when cold.

What is wheat beer called in Germany? ›

Hefeweizen Beer

In German, “hefe” refers to the yeast which remains in suspension giving the German beer its cloudy appearance, and “weizen” denotes the use of wheat.

Which beer is good for health? ›

The highest phenol concentrations are available in brews like Yuengling Light Lager, Abita Purple Haze and Left Hand Good Juju. Yuengling provides full flavor while staying light on calories. A typical glass of Yuengling Light Lager contains approximately 99 calories, and still contains those healthy phenol benefits.

How do you pronounce Wit beer? ›

Weizen/Weiss(e)

German speakers pronounce “w”s the way English speakers pronounce “v”s. The German words “weizen” (wheat) and “weiss” (white) are pronounced with a “v” sound as in “victory” at the beginning. Both words refer to the same style of unfiltered German ale in which at least half of the grain used is wheat.

What is BUHO witbier? ›

Buho Witbier (4.5% V/V) lays emphasis on yeast strain, unmalted wheat, barley malt, Belgian hops, spiced with coriander, orange peel and ginger. Buho is available in 500-ml cans in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa.

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