Brewing with Wheat: The 'Wit' & 'Weizen' of World Wheat Beer Styles
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The wit and weizen of wheat beers. Author Stan Hieronymus visits the ancestral homes of the world's most interesting styles-Hoegaarden, Kelheim, Leipzig, Berlin and even Portland, Oregon-to sort myth from fact and find out how the beers are made today. Complete with brewing details and recipes for even the most curious brewer, and answers to compelling questions such as Why is my beer cloudy? and With or without lemon?
emerged in the nineteenth century. All were quite lactic, infected with Lactobacillus and sometimes Pediococcus. They shared certain characteristics with some of the beers of northern Germany such as Berliner weisse and Leipziger Gose (descriptions of all include “sour milk-like flavors”). The various white styles disappeared from Belgium in stages, so that by the time Leuven Wit vanished Hoegaarden White reappeared. The version that Pierre Celis effectively saved has since spread all over the
this,” Versele said. “Too many people are telling the story that they have the Pierre Celis recipe, which is not true.” Saint Bernardus acknowledges just that. “Pierre Celis helped fine-tune the beer, he didn’t change all that much, but what he did was a huge help for us,” said Marco Passarella, Saint Bernardus’s marketing manager. “It is a fine example of how little shifts in the volume of ingredients can make a big difference in the end.” Wit is not the best-selling beer for (512), but Brand
was the first, and only, all-wheat brewery in the United States since before Prohibition, when weissbier breweries were tiny and made something that tasted more like wheat beers from Berlin. He since has begun brewing a variety of barley beers under contract, accounting for more than one-third of production. “We couldn’t survive brewing wheat beer alone,” he said. “The biggest consumers of wheat beers want German wheat beers,” he said. When he conducts blind tastings, which he calls the
wheat, American hops, and an English ale yeast on tap in the summer for those who want something even lighter in color and flavor than the weizen. Making a wheat beer the house light beer has been standard practice at brewpubs for twenty years, which is why Nick Floyd of Three Floyds Brewing in Indiana is just getting warmed up when he says, “Most American wheat beer is boring. For me (American wheat) is the Miller Lite of the brewpub chains.” He brewed Gumballhead to prove “American wheat beer
mention of the lactic flavors that would later make them famous. In describing the brewing process in 1765 Johann Samuel Halle wrote that at least some brewers sought to find a way to produce a Weisbierhefe that would not turn sour. Even so, he suggested that the beer should be served within eight days after leaving the brewery in summer and fourteen in winter.1 Both J.G. Krünitz (in Oekonomische Encyklopädie) and Halle described the brewing process used in the second half of the eighteenth