Can you believe St. Bernardus Wit is the first beer from St. Bernardus Brewery that The Brew Club is reviewing? (Or Brouwerij in Belgian)
I’ve actually had this witbier in my fridge for awhile, but considering its about 100 degrees outside as I write this, I thought it would make for a good beer review while (hopefully) providing a little refreshment for yours truly.
Checking out the ‘brouwerij’ website, it seems that the 5.5% ABV Wit was “developed in cooperation with Master Brewer Pierre Celis, the Godfather of Hoegaarden and Celis White.” Now, I don’t know about this Celis White stuff, but most of us have heard of Hoegaarden, whose name is arguably synonymous with this beer style.
This beer pours a very hazy, golden straw color. Its certainly got a lot of yeast particles floating around as you can not see through the beer at all. The head is a pure white foamy affair, but its much smaller than I expected considering the huge frothy thing that my last bottle of Hoegaarden produced. The head fizzled out rather quickly, and once it did there was no lacing to speak of.
Well, if the head was a bit unimpressive, the aroma surely made up for it! Giving this Wit a whiff, its got all of your expected characters; orangy citrus, spicy coriander, wheat and malt mixed into a nice bouquet that any nose would appreciate. Well, I suppose the nose doesn’t appreciate it so much as the scent receptors within you nose, but you know what I mean. Right?
The taste. Well, its been awhile since I’ve had a foreign Witbier, and this one is quite different than what I’ve grown accustomed to in the domestic Belgian White. The first thing that really stands out for me was the pop of citrus flavors. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it tasted like orange juice (it does not), but the orange flavors were much more pronounced than in the domestics I’ve recently tried.
It was a little sour even, which I found enjoyable actually. The coriander and probably other spices were in there as expected, but they seem to play a backup role to the citrus here. Additionally, you taste some of the customary wheat flavors. Overall, I really enjoyed the balance between the tartness, spiciness, and bitterness of this brew. Very good flavors here.
Where next? Well, the St. Bernardus Wit has a nice clean, crisp feel to it, and despite the lack of a decent head from my bottle, I found the carbonation to be good enough to make the beer feel lively in the mouth. Very enjoyable and very drinkable indeed.
So, what do I think of the Wit with the goofy Monk on the label? Well, I think its an excellent Witbier and I’m glad I got to try it. (Thanks to Brew Clubber Neil for the good pick!) I generally like this beer style. I find Belgian White beers to be relatively light and usually very refreshing – this beer exceeded that expectation. I’m hesitant to say it, but of all the Belgian Wit beers I’ve had, (I’ve had a few) I think this may be the best of them.
If you like the style, pick it up.