Review: Hoegaarden, Brouwerij van Hoegaarden

Brouwerij van Hoegaarden — Hoegaarden, Belgium

  • Style:  Belgian Witbier
  • Bitterness:  Not specified
  • ABV:  4.9% ABV
  • Malts:   Not specified
  • Hops:  Not specified
  • Sampled:  11.2 oz. bottle

Description:  "The original wheat beer is the oldest and most famous beer from the range of Hoegaarden. When it is poured, a soft white foam edge is formed and remains a rich deposit behind on the glass. A naturally turbid, pale color sparkles when you look through the glass of beer. With an aroma of orange peel, coriander and spices has its characteristic flavor unique. Soft, light and moderately sweet and sour, spiced with a subtle citrus flavor. It is best served in the traditional hexagonal glass." — Brouwerij van Hoegaarden 

Random thoughts:   The witbier style has been brewed since 1445 and Hoegaarden is widely considered the classic.  Anheuser-Busch InBev now owns the brewery and recently introduced Hoegaarden 0.0, a non-alcoholic version of the original.  This is part of my series on Belgian-style beers.   

The tasting:  Light straw in color, slightly hazy, with a white head that dissipated fairly quickly.  It's a great looking beer!  Aroma of lemon, orange peel, and faint hints of tobacco (which was very surprising).  Flavor of white pepper, lemon, coriander, tangy wheat, and yeast.  There's a mild sweetness in the middle.  Light bodied, and lightly carbonated, Hoegaarden is very refreshing and an easy drinking beer.  The alcohol isn't noticeable and it has little hop bitterness.   

Rating:  3 star.  Good!  I'd drink this again if someone gives it to me.   Hoegaarden is widely available and is a great introduction to the witbier style.  If you've never tasted a wit, give it a try.  It's a great style for summer.  However, consider Avery Brewing's White Rascal if it's distributed in your area.  I preferred it to Hoegaarden.

Have you tried Hoegaarden or any other witbiers?   

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  1. Sanjay: It's not quite true that Hoegaarden has been brewed since 1445. I think the brewery was started by Pierre Celis in the mid-1960s. He resurrected from memory the witbier style, which had died out completely in the mid-1950s. There's lots of info on Celis (who died earlier this year) on the web, but here's an interesting blog post I found.

    By the way, in addition to the widely mocked Hoegaarden 0.0, I was surprised to see in Europe a Hoegaarden Rosé for sale. Apparently with added raspberries. Didn't try it, but sounds crappy. I did have some regular Hoegaarden, and thought it was better than its current reputation.

  2. Bill, thanks for the info and the great link! Correction made. So does the Hoegaarden in Europe taste the same as it does here? Or did you notice some differences?

  3. It's been a long time since I had a Hoegaarden here. Had a few in France last month, and it tasted how I remembered it, which was quite good.


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