Tuesday, 22 April 2008
Once again, I come to a Belgian beer that I should have reviewed ages ago: Hoegaarden. Apart from Stella Artois, there can hardly be a better known brew from this country.
For the record, I have written up other beers from this brand family including, Hoegaarden De Verboden Vrucht, Hoegaarden Grand Cru and Hoegaarden Speciale, but it is the regular old wheat beer, Hoegaarden, that everyone knows best. So, after waiting 90 beers to get to this point, let’s get on with it...
No, wait. First a confession: I love Hoegaarden. I think it’s the first Belgian beer I ever tasted. The cloudy straw colour is so inviting, and I’ve always found it enormously easy to drink, with its citrus-and-spice aspect just brilliant on a warm summer’s day. Always give the bottle dregs a swirl before you finish pouring it into your glass to get all the flavours... yum.
That said, I’m not sure it would be on my list of top ten Belgian beers. I wonder if what I love about Hoegaarden is not this brand per se but the whole idea of the Belgian-style wheat beer or witbier -- which is not to be confused with the numerous varieties of German Weißbier, which are also excellent, though generally significantly heartier (or at least the Hefeweizen that first comes to my mind).
Anyway, the point is I really haven’t tried enough other Belgian wheat beers to tell if Hoegaarden is a great example of this genre or just standard fare. Luckily, I have a full summer ahead of me in which to do a bit of research and side-by-side comparisons.