The white beers, especially Belgian style, are very popular today in North America and almost all breweries offer one to their customers. Yet Witbier had completely disappeared from the planet almost fifty years ago. Thank Pierre Celis to have revived it...

Wheat beers, white beers commonly called, are divided into two broad categories: Witbier, also called Belgian white and Weizen, and Weiss, also called white German. It is mainly the used yeasts and how they incorporate the wheat that mark the difference between these two styles.

Traditionally, Belgian versions are made of raw wheat, meanwhile the Germans must necessarily use malted cereals under the law on beer purity. Differences in taste are however mainly due to the yeast used. The Belgian developing citrus aromas that are often embellished with coriander and orange peel, the German rather put in the foreground vanilla, clove and banana.

Witbier is the wheat beer and the Belgian, both very tasty and refreshing, with flavors of citrus and spices.


The origin of the Witbier

Belgian wheat beer was brewed there for over 400 years, mainly in the former province of Brabant in Belgium. At some point in the 1700s, there were even more than 30 brewers around the small white town of Hoegaarden. In 1954, the last traditional brewery closed its doors and went very close to take with her the secret behind this surprisingly tasty and refreshing beer.

Fortunately, in 1966, a dairy in the region began to revive the Belgian white typical of the region to the pleasure of his relatives and friends. Pierre Celis had worked for beer and a neighbor recalled ingredients necessary for its manufacture: raw wheat, oats raw and malted barley. Beer also stood out by spices used: Curacao orange peel and coriander seeds. The presence of a third secret spice has also long been suspected ...

Of course, the white beer Hoegaarden Pierre Celis was not only appreciated by those around him, but soon all over the region, the country and the continent. Celis officially opens its Brouwerij Celis in 1966. In 1980, he acquired a new facility and moved its production to its new Brouwerij De Kluis.

Unfortunately, only five years later when he started to export to the U.S. market promising, the brewery goes up in flames and problems with its insurers forced to seek help from the Artois brewery giant. A few years later, Artois Interbrew will become enormous pressure on the brewer for it modifies its revenues. Indignantly refuses Celis and chooses to sell its shares to the giant.

Motivated by the demand in the U.S. market, Pierre Celis went to Austin, Texas where he opened with his daughter Christine a new brewery that will end up losing again similarly, this time at the hands of Miller. Again, the commercial imperatives were right from the brewery ...

Fortunately, American microbreweries and those from around the world will soon take over the style revived by Pierre Celis and reproduce as faithfully as possible as it would have liked.


The classic Witbier

The Witbier is straw yellow, from pale to light brown. It is usually veiled or milky, and is surmounted by a beautiful white foam dense and tenacious. On the nose, there are notes of vanilla and honeyed and slightly spicy aroma scent of coriander, ginger, herbs, or even pepper. Notes of fresh bread slightly tart and fruity citrus spikes are also visible. Occasionally, there perceives subtle notes of hops.

In the mouth, the use of unmalted wheat or oats gives it a smooth and creamy texture and a very refreshing character. It is pleasantly sweet, with notes of honeyed, vanilla, fruity (orange peel), and has a final short and sometimes sour. There are also low wheat flavor, as well as herbaceous and spicy flavors. The bitterness is not really present in the final. These are beers to be consumed fresh, they do not age well.

Food pairing

The Belgian White can accompany fresh salad with citrus or citrus scents. For meals, she did well with white meats and seafood, all spiced with coriander, ginger, orange blossom, and, of course, citrus. You can also use the end of a meal with desserts orange, lemon or various spices found in its flavor profile.

To fully appreciate it, take the time to reincorporate the yeast settled to the bottom of the bottle the beer before pouring into a glass. Some like to add a few slices of orange in the glass directly to accentuate the citrus side.


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16 novembre 2012 - Discovering the Belgian white beer

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