Category 12 Waveform Witbier

C12_waveformBrewer: Category 12, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Witbier
ABV: 5.3%
IBUs: 19

Description: The latest offering from Category 12, which is part of their summer releases (alongside their Insubordinate Session IPA), the Waveform is brewed in the conventional Belgian-style of wheat ale. Wheat malt, East Kent Goldings hops, cardamom seeds and grapefruit peel combine to create a refreshing ale perfect for the summer heat!


Tasting Notes: This beer put me in mind of Blanche de Chambly, another great and refreshing Witbier (aka. “white ale”). Smooth, subtle, varied in flavor profile, and with a nice, refreshing finish, this beer is definitely a good summer ale. The addition of cardamom spice and citrus peel was definitely a nice addition, enhancing what is already there thanks to wheat malt and Belgian yeasts.

Appearance: Light golden, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle wheat malt, yeast, citrus, coriander spice
Taste: Smooth malt, crisp, effervescent yeast, citrus zest, hint of coriander
Aftertaste: Clean finish, malt flavor, mild lingering yeast
Overall: 8.5/10

Peak Organic Hop Blanc

peak_hopblancBrewer: Peak Organic Brewing, Portland, ME
Style: White IPA
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description:  Fresh from Portland Maine comes this White IPA, part of Peak Organic’s regular lineup. It is brewed using local wheat and Belgian yeast, and then bittered using a combination of West Coast Centennial, Simcoe and Citra hops.

Tasting Notes: Yet another sampling from the Advent Beer Calendar, this White IPA was a fitting example of this resurgent style of beer. Wheat malt and Belgian yeast provide a smooth, refreshing base, with is then accompanied by notes of citrus and tropical fruit that pair nicely with the yeast’s spicy finish.

Appearance: Deep gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, coriander, orange, spice
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, yeast, orange zest and fruit, spicy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering orange zest, yeast bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10


Unibroue Seigneuriale

Unibroue_seigneurieleBrewer: Unibroue Brewery, Chambly. QC
Style: Strong Ale
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 33

Description: This is the latest special release by Unibroue, a strong ale which pays homage to the Seigneuriale system and the role it played in the settlement of “New France”. Like all Unibroue’s products, it is brewed in the Belgian-style and refermented in the bottle with active yeast cultures.

Tasting Notes: This brew was best described as a stronger version of their Blanche de Chambly, a Belgian-style wheat. Much like the Blanche, it has some strong wheat malts, a yeasty backbone, and some coriander and orange zest. However, this one adds to that with some notes of pineapple in the nose and stronger, slightly sweeter malts.

Appearance: Deep orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, pineapple, hint of coriander spice
Taste: Crisp malt, tang, yeast, caramelized sugar, mild orange zest and spicy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, yeast bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

Jeune Gueule Weïti

jeunegueule_weityBrewer: Jeune Gueule, Matoury, French Guyana
Style: Fruit-infused White Ale
ABV: 5%
IBU: Unlisted

Description:  As part of this French Guyanese brewery’s regular lineup of beers, this white ale is brewed using malted barley and wheat, and then infused with Guyanese oranges and orange peel to give it a fruity aroma and smell. The final product is also unfiltered and unpasteurized, resulting in a cloudy, golden-white ale.

Tasting Notes: Again, a bottle that came to me thanks to an unsold advent pack. And like its predecessors, it did not disappoint. The wheat and barley malt provide a smooth, easy-drinking base that is then augmented with a strong infusion of sweet, citrusy orange, creating a very refreshing brew.

Appearance: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, orange zest, yeasts, floral bouquet
Taste: Smooth malt, burst of orange citrus, yeasts, mild bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, yeast and zesty orange flavor
Overall: 8/10

Parallel 49 Toques of Hazard Imperial White IPA

P49_toquesBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial India Pale Ale/Wheat Ale
ABV: 9.2%
IBU: 76

Description: This seasonal release from Parallel 49 celebrates winter in a rather cheeky fashion, which is very befitting of this brewery! The beer is a combination wheat and barley malt Imperial IPA, with high alcohol content and plenty of citrus, grass and piney notes brought on by a generous dose of Citra and Nelson Sauvin hops.

Tasting Notes: As usual, Parallel 49 manages to combine some interesting styles into a single brew, and said styles certainly come through in the flavor. This is characterized by a semi-sweet and coarse malt palate, some smooth wheat malts, and plenty of hop flavor that rings true with notes of grass, pine, and citrus. Once again, a combination that works.

Appearance: Dark gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, strong hop nose, citrus, pine, tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet and slightly coarse malt, hint of smooth wheat malt, citrus bite, grassy, pine
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, clean wheat and slightly coarse malt finish
Overall: 9/10

Bocq Blanche De Namur

blance_de_namurBrewer: Brasserie de Bocq, Purnode, Belgium
Style: White (wheat) Ale
Alc/Vol: 4.5%

Description: Brewed in honor of the daughter of John, Count of Namur, this wheat ale carries the nickname she was given upon becoming Queen of Norway. Brewed with coriander, licorice and orange peel, it was named “Europe’s Best Wheat Beer” at the 2009 World Beer Awards in the category of Belgian Style Witbier.

Tasting Notes: This beer is an interesting twist on your Belgian Wit, which are renowned for being fruity and spicy (usually from the addition of coriander and orange rind). But in addition, the smooth malts are complimented by a hint of sweetness, both in terms of aroma and taste, thanks to the addition of licorice. The light character also lends a very clean and refreshing finish that has no traces of yeasty bitterness.

Appearance: Light gold, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, yeast, coriander spice, orange rind, licorice
Taste: Smooth malt, effervescent yeast, hint of orange, sweetness and spice
Aftertaste: Lingering effervescent yeasts, very clean and refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Moon Under Water Berliner-Style Weisse Moon Under Water, Victoria BC
Style: Berliner Weisse (White Sour Ale)
Alc/Vol: 3.2%

Description: This beer is a collaboration ale that was crafted with the help of brewmasters Russ Huband and Jonas Bjorkman. Crafted in the Berliner Weisse fashion, a style of regional wheat ale native to Berlin that dates back to the 16th century, the beer if fermented using a combination of yeasts. These include Lactobacillus (for primary fermentation), Saccharomyces (secondary), and Brettanomyces for bottle conditioning.

Tasting Notes: This sampling was my introduction to this resurrected style of beer, and it was quite the interesting experience. In addition to being very light and refreshing, the beer has a highly effervescent character that finishes spicy and sour. Definitely a beer that is well-suited to summer.

Appearance: Light gold, cloudy, visible sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Wheat malt, very yeasty, hint of tart fruit and sour cherry
Taste: Light what malt, champagne-like effervescence, burst of tart/sour fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering hint of sourness and yeast, very clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

Spinnakers Hefeweizen

Just in time for summer, Spinnakers has been bit by the witbier bug! And I for one am pretty happy about it. For one, I am a big fan of wheat beer so I generally approve when anyone chooses to release one. Second, Spinnakers is not only one of my favorite brewpubs, it is also located right here in my hometown of Victoria BC. So getting my hands on their beer is never that hard.

So naturally, I approached the arrival of this bottle at my local beer store with some excitement. And in spite of the fact that I;m still battling a cold, I chose to open it up and sample her! First impressions, she’s definitely a wheat beer and definitely in keeping with the best traditions of white ales. But here’s a more detailed breakdown:

Appearance: Cloudy golden orange, typical of a quality hefeweizen
Nose: Immediate traces of cloves, sweet wheat malts, traces of honey
Taste: Gentle malts giving way to clove spice, complex and bitter, but otherwise mild
Aftertaste: A lingering bitterness characterized by citrus rind
Overall: 8/10

Just about everything about this beer is consistent with a good witbier, and that goes for color, aroma and flavor. All that being said, it was a little light for my taste. I generally prefer my wheats to have a bit more of a kick, which usually takes the form of stronger malt that tastes of banana and more potent citrus notes. However, this beer is genuinely refreshing and quite authentic. What’s more, I plan to enjoy several of these before the summer is out. Either on my deck or at the pub itself. Cheers!