Until recently I had never imagined I would be a beer drinker. I couldn’t even tell the difference between a lager and an ale (the fermentation & brewing process, temperature….flavours!)but the more beer you try, the more your palette adapts to these varying elements and it can be an enjoyable hobby to experiment and push the beer-boundaries.
This week I decided to try a Wheat Beer, which is brewed with (you guessed it) Wheat, as well as Malted Barley in a top fermentation process.
When I tried my first ever Wheat Beer ‘Camden Town Gentleman’s Wit’ a couple of months ago, I decided that was going to be my thing (for now anyway). With its prominent bergamot fragrance once supped it really did remind me of a yummy ‘lemon meringue pie’; soft & creamy with a tart citrus kick. The guys from the Camden Town brewery were actually featured on Jamie Oliver’s ‘Food Fight Club’ not long ago, which gave a bit of insight into their craft and it looks like they have a great deal of fun experimenting! The brewery run tours on Thursday evenings from 6pm and I am definitely going to give that a go soon.
The beer I sampled today was a Belgian Cherry Wheat Beer, brewed by the Brouwerij Huyghe in Melle, Belgium for Marks & Spencer. Like the Gentleman’s Wit it has a cloudy appearance, creamy texture and a very fruity, tangy aroma. Cherry & banana dominate on the nose with dark orange coming through and creating a tart quality. The colour is deep pink/ purple which is no surprise given that it is made with pressed griotte cherries.
I love the label and was immediately attracted to it on the shelf from an aesthetic point of view but one small glass was quite enough for me as I did find it a little on the sweet side. Perhaps it will be a nice change however from the fruity ciders once the Summer comes around.
Let me know if you have tried any great Wheat Beers lately…
A (Very) Basic Guide to Beers:
First things first, all beers fall into one of these two categories, Ale or Lager. So here is a little more information just to get us started.
Ale: brewed from malted barley and brewers yeast using a warm-fermentation process.The yeast ferments the beer quickly, giving it a sweet, full bodied and fruity taste. Most ales contain hops, which help preserve the beer and impart a bitter herbal flavour that balances the sweetness of the malt.
- Wheat: a general name for beers made from wheat by top fermentation; usually very pale and cloudy and effervescent. E.G. Camden Town Gentleman’s wit, Hoegaarden Original White Ale, Blue Moon Belgian White.
- Stout: dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Stouts were traditionally the generic term for the strongest or stoutest porters(see below) E.G. Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, Guinness.
- Porters: a dark style of beer, originating in London in the 18th century, descended from brown beer, a well hopped beer made from brown malt. E.G. Fuller’s London Porter, Founders Breakfast Porter, Samuel Smith’s Taddy Porter,
- Pale Ale: amber coloured beer which uses a warm fermentation and predominantly pale malt. Pale ale was a term used for beers made from malt dried with Coke. Types of pale ale include Indian Pale Ale (IPA), English Bitter, Blonde.
Lager: bottom fermented and conditioned at low temperatures. It is stored, or “lagered,” for some period, usually several weeks to months, before being ready to drink. Generally golden in colour but can often be darker in Europe.
- Pilsner: a pale lager, usually very pale to golden in colour. They tend to be very crispy and dry. Pilsner took its name from the city of Pilsen (Plzeň in Czech), Bohemia, now Czech Republic, where it was first produced in 1842. Pilsner beer stlyes are Czech (Pilsner Urquell, Startopramen), German (Becks, Holsten) and European (Amstell, Heineken, Stella Artois). Pale lager is the most highly consumed and commercially available beer in the world.
- Marzen/Oktoberfest: full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content. E.G. Brooklyn Oktoberfest, Lefthand Oktoberfest.
Credits to Wikipedia, Marks & Spencer, Ratebeer.com for the helping hand with some of this information.