History and tasting notes
The main wheat growing region of Belgium is to the east of Brussels. This area once had more than 25 breweries that made spiced wheat beer.
By the late 1950’s they had all shut down and the wheat beer style was all but dead due to the popularity of Pilsner style lagers.
A man named Pierre Celis (21 March 1925 – 9 April 2011) grew up in a town called Hoegaarden near the Tomsin brewery, which is where he learned the art of brewing. Since wheat beers were pretty much extinct by then, he determined to revive this style and started brewing in Hoegaarden in the 1960’s. The whole world owes him big time for the popularity of wheat beers today.
First impressions of a Hoegaarden is the aroma which is a lemony fruit, and spicy. There is a lot of yeast aroma that is quite high and floral as well. When poured correctly (which means the bottled is swirled before pouring to mix up the yeast), it looks pale yellow with a very thick white head. The beer is very easy drinking, which makes it hard to keep a track of how many you have downed. Not a lot of hop flavour, but a lot of spices, with a crisp and fruity finish.
An interesting tidbit about Pierre Celis before I end this – after a fire at the brewery in 1980, Interbrew stepped in to help rebuild, and finally purchased the brewery. Pierre Celis then moved to the US where he established a new company that brews a very similar beer called the Celis White.
A Hoegaarden should be served at around 9°C, and will pair well with white meat like a grilled chicken.