Witte is one of those beers I’ve had numerous times over the last few
years but for whatever reason I’ve just never sat down to write a formal
review of it until now. While my bottle is several months old, it’s far
from expired. Yet it doesn’t taste nearly as robust and complex as it
does on tap and from a 750ml corked and caged bottle. But since a 12oz
bottle is likely how most drinkers will experience it, this review is
based on that presentation.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a wheat beer glass.
Appearance: Very pale yellow/white body; extremely hazy but carbonation
and sediment visible. Forms a large, bright white, foamy head which is
slow to dissipate and leaves minute lacing on the glass.
Smell: Odd, slightly skunky smell as soon as the cap is popped (it comes
in a brown bottle and was sold at a beer store that knows what they’re
doing - why this off aroma?). A whiff inside the glass reveals more
familiar witbier scent of light lemony character and a hint of spice.
Otherwise, not very aromatic.
Taste: Either Ommegang Witte is a beer I’ve romanticized or it just
doesn’t present well in a 12oz bottle. Not that it’s bad, just that it’s
not nearly as good as it can be. This is basically an Americanized
version of Hoegaarden - probably the most famous example of the witbier
style (but not the best). A mild palate overall, very clean throughout.
There’s a lemony pith and slight fruit flavor throughout the first half.
As it starts to go down I get a hint of spice and bitterness. It’s
brewed with orangepeel and coriander but those flavors do not seem to
survive long in the 12oz bottle. Not that there’s anything off-putting
about it, though. It’s one of the few beers with a mild palate that
works fairly well, especially as a summer refresher.
Drinkability: What this lacks in robustness it makes up for in raw
drinkability. Though quite bubbly to the eye, Ommegang Witte has a thin,
almost tepid and watery mouthfeel. It goes down very smooth and
definitely will refresh a parched palate on a hot day or night. I’m
actually surprised it’s as big as 5.1% ABV as it seems to have the body
and weight of something even lighter. Though technically too big to be a
"session beer" I can totally understand someone breaking the rules with