The famous wheat beer from Belgium, from the village where witbiers already brewed in the fifteenth century – from Hoegaarden.
It is said that Belgian wheat beers were born in Hoegaarden.
Historical sources say that in this small Flemish village monks brewed beer already in the 1445 – and these were beers from wheat.
It is also known that from the beginning they were very sour.
That is why monks from Hoegaarden began experimenting with different additives and spices imported from Dutch colony Curacao, among others: with coriander and orange peel.
Brewing industry developed so well that in 1726 the village had at least 36 breweries and 110 malthouses.
In the nineteenth century, however, the number of breweries decreased to thirteen.
This downward trend persisted and, unfortunately, it happened that in 1957 was closed last brewery in Hoegaarden.
Until it was 1965 and a milkman named Pierre Celis decided to resurrect the fallen branch in his village.
Earlier, he helped in the works at a nearby brewery, so rolled up his sleeves he began to brew beer in his shed – in one copper boiler.
Business developed well enough that Celis moved to a larger building, which he named De Kluis, which means The Vault.
He continued the tradition of brewing witbiers using natural ingredients: water, yeast, malted barley, unmalted wheat, hops (East Kent Goldings and Saaz), milled coriander seeds and dried orange peel (more accurately: Laraha variety from Curaçao).
His beer Blanche de Hoegaarden has gained huge popularity. In 1985 production reached 75,000 hl.
Unfortunately, it was the last year of activity – due to a fire brewery completely burned.
Aid proposed group Interbrew (now InBev), which offered rebuild the brewery.
Pierre Celis received a loan for rebuilding and resumed the brewery. But he felt pressure from the company to modify the recipe of beer, to make it “more friendly” for the mass consumer.
As a result, Pierre Celis decided to sell his brewery concern, and he moved to Austin (Texas, USA), where he founded his own new brewhouse under the name Celis.
As you might guess this brewery specializing in brewing wheat beers, and its Celis White has won multiple top prizes in competitions. In the words of its creator: This beer is a reflection of the original recipe from Hoegaarden.
Celis, who, however, never established himself in Texas, sold his brewery to Miller Brewing Company.
It was then bought by Michigan Brewing Company, but the company went bankrupt and sold the rights to the name of beer.
Currently Celis White is produced in Belgium by brewery Brouwerij Van Steenberge. The beer is brewed based on the original recipe of Celis.
Pierre Celis died in 2011 at the age of 86.
But let’s return to Hoegaarden – Interbrew company after buying the brewery changed its name to Hoegaarden Brewery.
In 2005, under the name InBev, the company announced that it intends to close the brewery and move the whole production to a larger plant in Jupille.
However, due to protests residents for which brewery was a symbol of the village and the largest employer, finally there has been no removal.
InBev has decided to leave the brewery in Hoegaarden, and has invested 60 million euros for the expansion, modernisation and equipment of the brewery.
Logo of the brewery is badge of village Hoegaarden, which is a hand holding a crozier, on the other side – the same hand, but holding a spade to stir a mash.
For lovers of beer Hoegaarden designed a characteristic hexagonal glass.
On the website of the brewery we can know the brewing process, see the offer and also read some curiosities.
It turns out that the shape of company glass was inspired by… a jam jar. When there are no clean glass at hand, this what to drink beer? You can drink from jar jam and aroma of the fruits is an additional bonus.
Others say they used a giant wrench to pry the hexagonal beer glasses from the grubby paws of pub enthusiasts that refused to go home.
Is beer can be treated as a medicine?
Doctors in 17th and 18th century have recommended consume wheat beer for vitamin deficiency. Wheat beer is full of yeast and a source of vitamin B and chrome. Even if it is a myth, it is always an excuse to drink another glass of beer.
And yet – it is estimated that currently 9 out of 10 wheat beers drunk in Belgium comes from Hoegaarden.
A large bottle (750ml) of my Hoegaarden is already properly cooled. So it’s time to join the main point of the program, that is to taste.
Name: HOEGAARDEN WIT BLANCHE (Witbier, 4,9% ABV)
|Beer is yellow, unfiltered, opaque.
Head is high, white, small bubbles but also large – punctures slightly.
|In aroma: yeast perceptible, citruses, coriander, malt.|
|The taste: I feel at first cloves, coriander later.
Further fruits (citruses), mild sweetness, notes of yeast.
Bitterness is clearly present, although it is mild – whips rear parts of tongue and quickly subsides.
Finish is dry.
Beer is medium-bodied. Very refreshing.
Beer Hoegaarden Wit Blanche is dominated by aromas of coriander and cloves. Personally, I really like the taste of cloves, I’m sensitive to it and it is here for me as clear as coriander.
It is witbier style somewhat different from hefeweizen (it is worth comparing with the present here recently Franziskaner), therefore banana flavour is virtually not present here, instead are citruses. They are not only oranges, but rather a mixture of different citrus fruits is building quite a subtle bouquet of flavour.
Characteristic is marked presence of bitterness – it reminds citrus zest, thanks to it aftertaste is dry and citrus-bitter.
Beer is very tasty, very drinkable and refreshing.
And what can I do? I love wheat beers.