Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Day Eighteen, Beer Eighteen - Van Eecke's "Watou's Wit Bier"

Today's Beer

Name – Watou's Wit Bier

Classification – Wheat beer.

Strength – 5% ABV

Verdict - At A Glance

On the eye – Exemplary. A gorgeously misty, wheat beer glow.

On the nose – Marvel at that implied lemon slice!

On the tongue – Delightful consistency, with a lightness and a depth which rarely coincide.

On the subject – The heritage of this 'abbey' beer (one rung beneath 'Trappist' in the hierarchy of Belgian beers) can be traced back to 1629, but the sheer freshness of this beer will have you scratching your head at such statistics.

On the market – Selected outlets. Grabbed mine at Selfridges. (In store only.)

On the whole8.5/10

Full Review

After years of wilfully ignoring the signs, it has now become clear that I have a problem with wheat beers.

Or rather, wheat beer's have a problem with me.

No matter how much adoration I send in their general direction – these beautiful concoctions always wind up making me sneeze.

After many a year in denial, I'm now having to accept that I'm allergic to one of the beer world's greatest treasures.

So, at this present moment, having finally given in to the obvious, I'm not only feeling annoyingly nasal – I'm also feeling pretty glum.

I grow even more morose when I contemplate the unpleasant fact that the very beer which has finally convinced me I have an allergy issue – this here bottle of Watou's Wit Bier – just happens to be one of the finest example of it's kind I've ever tasted.

The effortless sophistication of this drink is nothing short of gob smacking. It purrs across the tongue like your old family cat might ease across the arm of its favourite couch. The drink's overall impact is understated and refined, but it zings with just the right amount of lemony high notes to make this the most delightful and ingenious battle between bitter and sweet.

Like many of the finest Belgian creations, this beer isn't brash or self-enamoured, though goodness knows many of this nation's brews would have every right to start getting just a little bit full of themselves.

But no, there's no showing off going on here. Nor, for that matter, is there any level of shrinking timidity. As with many of the best Belgian brands – there is unquestionably a quiet grandeur about the beer, but there's also very little doubt that this is – as many an English brewer would say of his or her own ales – a very 'honest' drink. It is a self-possessed but equally unassuming rendition of a famously quench-slaying beer variety.

Quite obviously, my only regret is that there is some elusive aspect of this delightful beer-type's unique make up which leaves me snuffling like a grumpy baby.

One beer among all, and it has to be one of the greats...

Just my luck!

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