The Brewski Report’s Review on Hoegaarden, the Original Belgium White Beer.
File Date: 8.30.09
File Name: It’s Intuitively Obvious That The Obvious Isn’t Always Intuitive.
The Beer: Hoegaarden Original White Ale
Type: Witbier or White Beer
Serving: Bottle, Dark Glass, Long Neck; 11.2 FL OZ Serving.
Stats: 4.90% ABV
Brewer: Brouwerij van Hoegaarden
Country of Origin: Belgium
Brewer Info: Hoegaarden takes its name from the village of Hoegaarden, in Belgium’s Brabant Province, where the brewing of white beer can be traced back to 1445. However, around 1955, the last local witbier brewery, Tomsin, closed its doors. Pierre Celis, a milkman, decided some ten years later to try to revive the style. He began the new brewery in his hay loft. Celis used the traditional ingredients of water, yeast, wheat, hops, coriander and dried Curaçao orange peel known as Laraha. With demand for the product continuing to grow, Celis bought, in the 1980s, Hougardia, a local soft-drink factory that he rebuilt into a brewery.
After a fire in 1985, as is traditional in Belgium, several brewers offered their help. One of these was the largest brewer in the country, called Interbrew (after a merger with AmBev, renamed InBev). Interbrew lent money for the purchase of other buildings to rebuild the brewery. Over time, Celis felt very strongly that the company used the loan to pressure him to change the recipe to make the beer more “mass market”. Celis decided instead to sell Interbrew the brewery in 1987. After selling, Celis founded Celis Brewing Company in Austin, Texas, which was later acquired by Miller Brewing. Miller ultimately closed the brewery and sold the equipment and brand names to Michigan Brewing Company.
Brewer Brand Hype: Hoegaarden is brewed using natural ingredients – mineral spring water, unmalted wheat, barley malt, hops, yeast, coriander and Curaçao orange peel. Hoegaarden is unfiltered, giving the beer a soft body, cloudy white appearance and thick, frothy head. This beer is particularly refreshing in warmer months and always should be served in its signature hexagonal glass, which keeps the beer colder longer.
Label: A delicious and surprising refreshing taste, naturally cloudy and brewed using a unique recipe of wheat, malted barley and a subtle hint of coriander and orange peel.
The Brewski Review: And so goes a true conversation at my day job’s morning production meeting between our Operations Manager and one of his direct reports, the HR Manager:
Ops Mgr: ‘The world is competitive.’
HR Mgr: ‘A well trained employee makes them more competitive.’
Ops Mgr: ‘Well, that’s intuitive.’
HR Mgr: (sarcastically) ‘Oh, and “The world is competitive” isn’t intuitive?’
Ops Mgr: (seriously) ‘I don’t believe it was to you.’
This is the world I live in – albeit a mere slice. Yes, I too must report to the Operations Manager. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on this one.
Why I mention this rather useless conversation above is that the results of this beer review were in no way intuitive based upon the bottle as it was pulled off the retailers shelf. I purchased it, along with a smattering of others, and stuck them in the back of the fridge. I usually don’t have an agenda when I review beers. I stick my hand in the back of the fridge and whatever I pull out is what I drink. This time around I picked Hoegaarden’s Witbier (White Beer). Little did I know how delicious and exceptional it was going to be. Luckily, I read the back label before I finished pouring it into the glass. I don’t know of many beers that have pouring instructions but this is one of them. Step1: Use Hoegaarden’s hexagonal glass (which I didn’t), Step2: Pour 2/3 into glass, Step3: Swirl bottle, and finally, Step4: Pour rest to form head. Do quite a bit of swirling since the sentiment at the bottom of the bottle took a while to dislodge. The beer was oh so smooth and had a quite unique flavor. As noted, it was cloudy. Much more so after I swirled and poured the last remaining liquid into the glass.
Drinkability: Smooth. Great tasting.
Appearance: Very pale golden yellow and cloudy in color.
The Buds: Loved it. Will definitely drink it again.
TBR Cap Rating: 4.75 out of 5