346. Hoegaarden Original White Ale

346. Hoegaarden Original White Ale

I had two glasses at a biology department recruiting event at Flat Top Johnny's in Cambridge last night. They were served on tap in Hoegaarden tumblers with wedges of lemon that were promptly removed.

Hoegaarden is the beer that revived the Witbier style. It's the fourth that I've blogged about. The others are Hitachino Nest White Ale, Vuuve White, and Ommegang Winter Witte. By the mid 1960s almost all Belgian breweries producing a Wit had stopped doing so. In 1966 Pierre Celis revived the style with Hoegaarden. He moved to Austin, TX and began the Celis Brewery in the early 90s. The brewery is now closed, but the Michigan Brewing Company took over production of Celis beers.

Appearance: Pours a very pale hazy straw color with a creamy white head that fades to a thin layer.

Smell: The aroma is fruity and spicy with hints of peppers, clove and banana.

Taste: The taste is lightly sweet upfront, which is somewhat masked by the carbonation. Spices come out in the center (cloves and pepper). The finish is grainy with a slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation, light-bodied, with a crisp, clean and dry finish from the graininess. The cloves almost gave a numbing sensation.

Drinkability: Smooth and clean, refreshing like other examples of the style.

Overall: I liked this beer, it was very tasty and the spiciness, aside from the cloves, was more subdued than in other witbiers I've tried. The clove flavors reminded me more of a Hefe Weizen than a witbier though. The cloves and graininess almost made this beer seem like an intermediate between an American and German Hefe.

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