This style of beer is often referred to as a "white beer" or in Belgium "witbier" or "biÎre blanche." It bears two German counterparts: Bavarian weisse beer, which is soft and light, and Berliner weisse beer, which is lactic and tart. While both the Belgian wit and the Bavarian weisse beers, once threatened with extinction, are enjoying huge revivals especially among the yuppie crowd, Berliner weisse has not seen a popularity revival at similar levels.
Wit beers are, indeed, pale but nearer to yellow than white in color, with a white billowy head and medium body. It is brewed with up to 50 percent unmalted wheat. It is very cloudy with a tangy wheaty-orange flavor that is sure to refresh. The classic wit beer is brewed with CuraÁao orange peel, coriander and other spices, as well as hops.
The Belgian wits are modeled after Hoegaarden (pronounced Who Garden) Wit, but we Americans are most fortunate to have a modern brewery in Texas brewing world class wit beers. Celis Brewery was founded and is still overseen today by the father of the Belgian wit beer revival, Pierre Celis, who revived the style in Belgium in 1966 and then brought his operation to Texas in 1992.