October is upon us, and the combines work their way through the cornfields. The seasons and beers are on the cusp of change, and today I try the last of what has been a very witty summer.
New to the Iowa market, I latched onto my first bottle of New Belgium’s Mothership Wit (organic) a few weeks ago, but am only now getting around to popping it open. A fan of their tasty libations, I’ve been looking forward to this, one of only a few in their lineup I haven’t tried.
Of all the wits I’ve tried this summer, I believe this one to be the lightest straw in color, and perhaps least cloudy–just a touch of haze–with a soft white head atop.
The aroma arrived in a restrained fashion, floral, with a greater coriander presence than citrus. A touch of wheat aroma. As it warmed, I found that the aroma improved, with the wheat seeming to be the tie that binded in a soft, well-melded way.
A sip or two revealed a similar flavor profile, with the citrusy character and zesty yeast profile that I so enjoy in this style more subdued than I prefer. Again, my enjoyment increased as the glass warmed.
I found this a favorable wit, but scratch my head a little. New Belgium is doing well without my advice, but I’m not sure why they brought this one on board. I’d be inclined to back the Sunshine Wheat, which I find to be a truly delicious beer, rather than bring in another light wheat offering. Further, I’ve got word from the brewery that they’ve dropped their saison as a fall seasonal in favor of lengthening Skinny Dip and 2 Below’s time on shelves. Perhaps this beer’s an opportunity to offer an organic beer without the headache of converting one of their well-established beers.
Perplexed, this armchair brewery president is. No matter, I still love this brewery.
Wilson’s Wit Picks
For those playing along, I’ve talked about a number of wit encounters over the last few months, so I thought I’d wrap it up with a little annotated ratings game. Here are the wits I’ve had this summer, in order of preference, with a comment or two as to why. Take my thoughts with however many grains of salt you wish.
1. John’s Generations White Ale (Millstream Brewing Company) Here’s what I said when I first tasted it: “This is a wonderful wit, with a lovely orange/coriander/wheat bouquet in the ideal proportions. It followed with a flavor and mouthfeel to match, a pleasant find, indeed, for a hot day like today.”
2. White Knuckle Wit (mongrel brewing company) This is one of my homebrewed wits that I put together this summer. I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking my recipe, and it’s high on my list not because I call myself superior to any commercial brewer, but because it was spanking fresh. The flavors evolved over the month or so that I had this on tap. For a few days, the coriander stepped forward more than I preferred, but after that, it was true bliss.
3. Zon (Boulevard Brewing Company) This one had a zestier yeast profile than some of the others, and it just felt good in mouth.
4. (TIE) Mothership Wit (New Belgium Brewing Company) Restrained, organic and well-balanced. Raccoon River Wit (Raccoon River Brewing Company) Soft, citrusy and enjoyable.
5. Mango Wit (mongrel brewing company) The mango-fermented version of my White Knuckle Wit, this is number 5 not because it was lousy, but because I was disappointed in the mango character I was able to manage. It was lovely in the aroma, but absent in the flavor profile. I’ll use a truck load next time and see if it comes through a little better.
UNRATED, and in a separate weight class, I should mention Big Boss Brewing Company’s Double Wit, which I had a few times before my move from Raleigh. As I recall, this amped up wit was around 9% abv. All those yummy wit beer characteristics on alcohol-warming steroids, I’d recommend checking this one out if you can track it down.
Finally, it’s worth noting that my two favorites where very local and likely very fresh (I know darn-well that my homebrew was fresh). Goodness knows what happens to a beer when it leaves the brewery, especially when there’s a good deal of distance involved in distribution. A light nectar like this one seems all the more likely to show the damage of mistreatment. Drink ’em fresh and local for a bigger smile on your face–though I’d love to try Big Boss’s Double Wit with a couple of years on it.