Witbeer tasting on a summer's eve

Witbeer is a taste of summer. Lemony, golden, hazy, known for being made with wheat with coriander and orange peel. I spontaneously bought 3 different Witbeers today and we had a blind tasting during the cocktail hour on a partly-sunny Vermont afternoon. I covered the 3 bottles, then walked away and had my co-taster number and pour them. We each had 3 small glasses and a "tasting card" for notes. I also set out lemon wedges and we squeezed them into each glass before tasting, cuz that's just what we do with Witbeer.

Beer 1: Even though it was a blind tasting, I remembered that one of the bottles was European and I decided this one was it. Some European (including some British) beers just taste "foreign" to me--kind of malty and watery. Perhaps I have American taste buds and am used to being kicked in the pants by lots of hops and lots of stuff going on. (However a good pilsner or lambic will also suit me fine.) In terms of color, this was the palest selection of the 3. I decided that it could be "good with food, unremarkable for quaffing." My co-taster wrote "clear." (All his reviews were one word only.)

Beer 2: This one was golden hazy and seemed more carbonated. I thought it had a West-coast, hop-obsessed style. My co-taster declared it "hoppier."

Beer 3: This was our favorite. I thought it was "mild, lemon-y, most well-balanced." My co-taster wrote "Yum!" It wasn't insipid, also not overwhelmingly hoppy. It had a nice "summer's day" shandy-like character but with the mellow grownup taste of a good witbeer. Very nice.

Time for the big reveal.

Beer 1 was Hoegaarden "Wheat beer brewed with spices" from Belgium. I was psyched I pegged its Euro-ness.

Beer 2 was Flying Dog Woody Creek White "Belgian style wit beer." Although I thought it tasted West Coast, it's actually brewed in Maryland. These are the people with the cool Ralph Steadman labels.

Beer 3, our fave, was Wolaver's "Ben Gleason's White Ale" from our tiny home state of Vermont. How interesting that our taste buds just seem to sync with the flavor closest to home. Wolaver's is the certified organic brand produced by Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury, Vermont. According to the label, this witbeer contained not only barley and wheat but also oats. Yum indeed.

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