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Beer #12 – January 12, 2010: St. Bernardus Wit

January 12, 2010

Beer: St. Bernardus Wit

Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus, Watou, Belgium

Style: Wit / Witbier

Serving Type: Bottle

Price: Unknown – part of a gift mix pack

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Pilsner glass

Strength: 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: While perfectly refreshing for a hot summer day, this one is enjoyable any time of year.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a very hazy pale golden hue with a thick, foamy white head.

Aroma: Yeasty, coriander, clove, citrus.

Mouthfeel: Nice body, very carbonated, but the plethora of tiny bubbles brings simultaneous fullness and lightness.

Taste: Initial tart lemonade sweetness, with a grainy, wheaty middle, accompanied by spice flavors of clove, coriander, and pepper, followed by a tangy, drying finish.  A nice balance of tart, sweet and spicy makes this a classic example of the wit style.

Pairing: A classic Belgian beer deserves a classic Belgian dish: moules frites (mussels and Belgian fries).

Trivia: A style that goes by many names (Wit, Witte, Witbier, White, La Bierre Blanche), Wit gets its name from the word White due to the light and hazy appearance of the beer.   The style almost disappeared completely when the Tomsin Brewery in the town of Hoegaarden, Belgium closed in 1955.  Pierre Celis, a milkman in Hoegaarden revived the style upon opening his brewery in 1966.  When his brewery burned down in the late 1980’s, and was without insurance, he was forced to sell his brewery to the international conglomerate of Interbrew (now Anheuser Bush InBev), and headed to Texas to start the Celis Brewery.  Celis also collaborated with St. Bernardus to create their take on the Wit style.

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