Old World Wit Belgian Wheat Ale
There isn’t a whole lot of palpable information on Old World Brewery, based out of Phoenix. I did discover that they are currently closed and in the process of moving to a new location, but other than that, there are very few sites that offer any insight into the brewery other than their own facebook and twitter accounts (don’t expect anything eloquent). Of their four brews available, I tried the Old World Wit Belgian Wheat Ale. Apparently, “wit” is the proper identification for wheat beer in Belgium.
Once poured, it glowed a hazy golden orange with hay-colored highlights. I’ve been having good luck with all of my heads lately, and this ranked right up there with the few I’ve gotten to hold long enough for a photo. The foam quickly rose to just under two fingers thick and left minimal lacing along the glass. There was a lot of carbonation initially, but it seemed to disappear as I sipped away at it.
The aroma was a sickeningly sweet orange peel and coriander concoction, almost potpourri at first, dwindling into a bitter hoppyness accompanied by a faint whiff of tart wheat. The orange peel and the coriander were by far the leading smells emanating from the beer, closely followed by the bitter, tart grains. It definitely isn’t my favorite brew to smell thus far, but it certainly leans heavily on the “unique” meter.
The taste is pretty close to the scent, only lighter. There were the close-to-overwhelming citrus flavors that resembled both oranges and lemons – very tart, an odd bitterness that stung my tongue on impact but mellowed out after each swallow, and the new-to-me coriander picking up the tail. For the uninformed – this included me up until I tried this beer – Coriander is “described as warm, nutty, spicy, and orange-flavored” and “are used with orange peel to add a citrus character,” particularly in Belgian wheat beers. The carbonation didn’t hold well through the drink and by the end I was left with a sour taste in my mouth (due to the presence of lactic acid) and a rather flat mouth feel. Not my favorite way to finish off a beer.
I came into this tasting with no expectations, as I try to do with all of my reviews, but I feel like I was cheated out of something here. That or I’m just moping over the sour ending. I’ll get over it eventually, but in the meantime, this isn’t going back on my list of beers to drink. I’m glad for the experience, however, and would recommend it as an early autumn refreshment paired with spicy or pepper-laden foods to knock the tart and sour down a notch. With all due respect to the brewers, they hit the Belgian Wheat Ale nail on the head. I think I’ve got another Old World brew waiting for me in the fridge; I’m curious to see how unique it might be compared to this one.