I’d Tap That: Sweet wheat, hops, honey and more make Ommegang’s Witte inviting to the senses
Glassware: The yeast profile in Belgian-styled beers is the driving force for much of the flavors and aroma. Witte is also a beer that is best enjoyed cold to truly appreciate its refreshing qualities. A nonic pint glass is a good choice along with a long tubular pilsner glass. Ommegang also makes a beautiful glass that is perfect for Witte and can be purchased directly from the brewery.
Description: Ommegang’s Witte pours a hazy straw-like yellow hue with a huge foamy head that lingers and leaves an impressive lacing on the glass. The aroma is absolutely perfect and is very inviting to the senses, bringing out scents of coriander, sweet wheat, hops, honey, citrus fruits and ever-so-subtle notes of banana and clove. The overall reaction to the taste can be described in one word: refreshing. This is a perfect beer to have on a hot summer day. The spices do not overwhelm the palate at all. Instead, they offer a nice, refined kick that make this witbier even more inviting. The attack of the wheat, honey and citrus notes hit the palate first while the subtle spices follow. Witte finishes up quite dry while still leaving the palate feeling refreshed and invigorated. The medium body of the beer, combined with the fairly high carbonation, contributes to the refreshing feeling by leaving a very crisp touch on the palate. While this is certainly not the most complicated beer on the market, I cannot think of a better beer to have on a warm summer day.
Food pairing: Ommegang’s Witte is a beer that crosses all meal boundaries. This is a great beer for breakfast or brunch on those lazy summer days. Any egg dishes will have a perfect counterpoint with Witte, with the citrus aromatics offering an even deeper and more enjoyable experience of your meal. And fear not! Bacon and sausages will be overcome by the wonderful acidity within the beer and meld into one delicious dish. A truly perfect breakfast partner is an eggs, bacon and greens panini. The addition of the greens is the perfect counterbalance to keep the pairing in check and make for a memorable brunch. If you are looking to enjoy Witte with a lunch dish, I recommend a salad, and don’t be afraid to pile on the cheese, chicken, shrimp or eggs. Whatever you like, this beer can handle it and aid in the melding of the flavors. A perfect dinner accompaniment for this beer is fish. Any fish that you typically squeeze a lemon onto is perfect for this beer.
The Final Word: Ommegang has long been brewing fantastic Belgian-inspired beers, and Witte was one of the first. The fact that it is still as enjoyable today in a saturated craft beer world makes a statement on the quality of this beer. Many craft beers that are enjoyed early in their entrance from the macro beer world into the craft beer world seem to lose some of their luster as our palate adjusts to big, bold flavors. However, Witte has a subtlety of flavors that have an impact but are delicate and nuanced enough to last long and deliver something even for the most jaded of palates. The flavors are perfect for the approaching warmer weather, and that is something we can all enjoy.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewery: Brewery Ommegang