If you frequent brewpubs, you’ve most likely heard of the term “beer flight". However, if you’re…
What is a White Ale?
What is a White Ale? You’ve most likely consumed white ale without even recognizing it. This is due to the fact that not all white ales are branded as such. Instead, it’s known by a more typical Belgian nickname: witbier. Witbier, which translates as “white beer,” is a wheat beer with low alcohol content.
A Brief History of White Ale
All of modern Belgium’s brewing history can be traced back to subsistence brewing, whether on the family farm or in monasteries. The witbier style, often known as bière Blanche in French-speaking Belgium, is no exception. Its origins as a monastery brew date back to at least the 14th century, when all brewing ingredients were sourced locally. Back then, various combinations of herbs and/or spices were used to balance the sweetness of the malt, instead of hops, until Belgian brewers hesitantly made the switch. Many Belgian styles, such as witbier, pay homage to a history rich in the usage of various herbs, even now.
What to expect from a White Ale
When it comes to color, witbier is a very pale beer, with SRM ranging from 2 to 4. They’re also on the milder half of the bitter spectrum, with IBUs ranging from 8 to 20. They are also low in alcohol, with ABVs ranging from 4.5 to 5.5%.
White Ale Style Profile
Because they are unfiltered, white ales will have a foggy haze that may appear almost milky. The hues will range from sun-soaked straw to soft yellow-gold. The head will be dense, white, and creamy, with exceptional retention.
Aromas will include a faint malt smell, sweetness, a subtle spice, light wheat acidity, and graininess. Witbier frequently carries hints of honey and/or vanilla. Coriander is traditionally used to flavor these beers, adding peppery and spicy overtones to the yeast’s herbal richness. Some fruitiness may appear in the form of citrus and/or orange. To achieve balance, all scents must work together, without overpowering one another.
The flavor is quite similar to what you smell. Hoppy flavors should be kept to a minimum, as the spices added tend to mask their aromas. Any astringent harshness from the orange peel, as well as any vegetal, soapy, ham-like, or celery-like flavors, are not appropriate. When you take a sip of this beer, you’ll notice that it has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. White ales have a high carbonation level, resulting in a spritz flavor that develops beautifully on light acidity and a lack of severe bitterness to generate a sensation of freshness.
White Ale Food Pairings
Witbier is a wonderful lunchtime beverage. Salads, regardless of their toppings, and Witbier is a match made in heaven. When paired with a witbier, light seafood, lobster, sushi, and smoked salmon shine. Cheese, eggs, ham, and bacon; all of these ingredients mix well with white ales when combined in a variety of delicious ways to satisfy those noon munchies. So does almost any meal with citrus flavors (sauces, marinades, sweets, etc.), but don’t overdo it. This style isn’t particularly good at dealing with heat.
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