Summer is finally here in a full on blast of heat and sun! These days we have many beer options to choose from to quench our thirst and refresh our palates. There is one mainstay though that has never left the foreground of summer beer perfection; the Belgian Witbier. These wheat beers have long been brewed with a large amount wheat, sometimes oats, and always a blend of spices.
The Bruery’s Orchard White is no exception. It is an unfiltered, Belgian-style Witbier spiced with coriander, citrus peel and lavender. Rolled oats are also used to aid a smooth and creamy effervescent texture. True to its heritage, it is the perfect beer for the summer – I recently enjoyed it with some good friends on a hot and sunny day by the beach. How can you go wrong with a combination like that!
Thankfully it is actually made available all year, and does prove its worth in all seasons. Many breweries are producing wheat beers now – even the commercial guys have began to. But for me, it will always be the aromatic and full flavored authentic style wheat beers that hold a place in my heart.
The Orchard White comes in a capped, 750ml wine shaped bottle at 5.7%. This is not meant to be an overpowering wheat beer, or an imperial weizen; to me, those beers serve a very different purpose. The Orchard white is crafted with delicate flavors and elegant aromas – this a a beer worth savoring.
Served right out of a ice filled cooler, it was cold, probably around 7C (45F), but the heat from the sun would quickly bring it up to a more palatable temperature. The pour was smooth with huge excitement creating a maze of golden yellow and airy white beer building aggressively in the bottom of my tulip glass. It formed a pale golden straw colored beer with gold, light amber, opaque oranges, and sunny shades beaming through it. The head was so perfectly white I almost couldn’t believe it. It stood about an inch and a touch above the beer with delicate tiny bubbles so evenly spaced amongst each other – the contrast was gorgeous.
The nose is at first lightly sweet with wheat, vanilla, hints of light summer fruit, and a touch of yeast like spice. Back for more in the nose and you can pull out smooth banana, melon, mango, soft hay fields, fresh dew, hints of citrus, light and ticklish spices and the fresh and complex notes of an obviously Belgian yeast. Vanilla and soft floral scents glide in the back creating a seemingly elegant beer.
The palate is very similar, however I never could have anticipated this kind of amazing mouthfeel. It is smooth, silky, effervescent, creamy and lively all at onces. It glides into your palate so smooth but tingles the whole way with tiny and precise bubbles gently cracking along the way awakening your senses. In comes the creamy rush of sweet bready wheat, warm vanilla, then spice next with coriander, orange peel, and maybe a touch of pepper.
Banana, light clove, soft melons and a faint note of pineapple all caress your cheeks and fade into a soft and sweet bed of flowers. The lavender that is used is really something special. It adds a perfume like soft balance to the beer creating a perfect interlace between spice and aroma. Just breathtaking.
The Belgian yeast and traditional ingredient range give this beer a very soothing and familiar feeling. Like relaxing with an old friend you haven’t seen in far to long. The yeast brings a touch, and I mean just a slight touch of tartness to the beer and helps aid the soft and delicate hops to quench and finish the beer. It is totally immaculate from start to end creating soothing and refreshing sensations from nose to tongue. I severely enjoyed this one.
I would really like to enjoy the Orchard White with an outdoor brunch of smoked salmon, soft cheeses, croissants, fruit and baked eggs. The beers ability to quench, but also bring a wide range of subtle flavors will make it a perfect pairing with anything mellow sweet or not to overwhelming. Still though, the best yet will be drinking it on its own, with some good old friends.