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Wheat Beer

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What is Wheat Beer?

All beer styles, including Wheat Beer, are created from four fundamental ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. The process of brewing involves the fermentation of sugars, usually derived from malted barley, by yeast. This fermentation yields alcohol and carbon dioxide. Additionally, hops are included for their distinctive flavour, aroma, and natural preservative qualities.

What is a Wheat Beer?

Wheat Beer, as the name suggests, is a type of beer brewed with a significant proportion of wheat in addition to the traditional malted barley. The presence of wheat lends these beers a unique mouthfeel and a characteristic hazy appearance.

Wheat Beers are known for their light and refreshing qualities, making them popular choices, especially during the warmer months. They often exhibit fruity and spicy notes, largely derived from the yeast strains used in fermentation. The two most popular styles of Wheat Beer are Weissbier and Witbier, each with its unique characteristics.

What is a Weissbier?

Weissbier, also known as Hefeweizen, is a type of Wheat Beer native to Germany. The term 'Weissbier' translates to 'white beer,' a name derived from its pale, cloudy appearance. Weissbiers often have a high carbonation level and are known for their effervescence.

The flavour profile of a Weissbier is typically dominated by fruity and spicy notes, thanks to the special yeast used in brewing. Commonly, you'll taste hints of banana and clove in these beers. The wheat content provides a soft, bready backdrop, and the hop presence is usually minimal, allowing the complex yeast character to shine.

What is a Witbier?

Witbier, or 'white beer' in Dutch, is a style of Wheat Beer from Belgium. Like Weissbiers, Witbiers are often cloudy and pale. However, Witbiers are commonly brewed with a proportion of unmalted wheat and may also include oats, giving these beers a distinctive, fuller mouthfeel.

Witbiers are known for their slightly tart, refreshing quality and are often brewed with coriander and orange peel, adding a characteristic citrusy and slightly spicy note. The hop bitterness in Witbiers is typically low, allowing the combination of yeast, wheat, and spicing to lead the flavour profile.

Exploring Wheat Beer Styles: Weissbier vs Witbier

While both Weissbier and Witbier are styles of Wheat Beer, each style showcases the wheat character in distinct ways. Weissbier focuses on the fruity and spicy flavours derived from the yeast, with banana and clove notes being particularly characteristic. It is often unspiced, letting the yeast and wheat's natural flavours take centre stage.

On the other hand, Witbier incorporates spices such as coriander and orange peel, adding a citrusy brightness and subtle spice to the beer. The addition of unmalted wheat and sometimes oats can also lend a creamy mouthfeel to this style.

In conclusion, Wheat Beers, in their many forms, offer a diverse array of refreshing, complex, and inviting brews. They are perfect for those seeking something light and drinkable yet loaded with flavour and character. So, the next time you're choosing a beer, consider exploring the world of Wheat Beers, where each sip can take you on a journey from the wheat fields to your glass.


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