If (like me) you have gained an appreciation for Hoegaarden, at some point you will find yourself wondering which other similar beers you may enjoy. There is a wide variety of alternatives you can try, depending on two factors:
- One factor we can look into is the coriander flavor that the monks who created the Hoegaarden signature style nearly six centuries ago added. So we can look at any beers that brew with coriander as well.
- The other factor is for people who have tried Hoegaarden and appreciate its highly rated flavor and would like to try other Belgian wit biers. So we can of course look to other (sometimes more easily attainable) brands that market to your desire.
Coriander adds an aromatic, herbal flavor that balances out malty beers. This common garden herb, when used at the right time can make a beer a perfect pour for the end of a long, hot summer day.
The following beers are not necessarily Belgian wit biers, and most are not available en masse. However, if you can get your hands on them, I definitely recommend you try them for a different twist on the experience of coriander beers.
1) Almanac White Label
Almanac White Label pairs a beer and a wine for a hybrid that is unbeatable. The first thing that will hit is the aroma in the glass. It presents a bouquet that is more familiar for a vineyard sommelier and less like a beer connoisseur.
The aftertaste is very tart, hitting the acidic side of the citrus flavor while bringing out the sweetness of the hops without overdoing it. When poured, the head is not extremely thick thanks to its wine mix.
The oaky hints while drinking are well balanced with the tropical fruits brought in by the Muscat blanc wines that are mixed with German Hallertau blanc hops.
2) Side Project Biére Blanche
Brewed in Missouri, Side Project Biére Blanche is less a Belgian wit bier as an homage to the European monk brew. The brewery adds not only coriander but also orange peel to not just hint at orange flavor but to bring it to the forefront of the experience.
The glass pours with a thick and frothy foam and the aroma is, as would be expected with such a spicing mix, heavily citrus with a pleasant fresh yeast.
Some people describe a grapefruit flavor and enjoy the light carbonation in the glass as it leaves a lacy finish once the glass is finished.
3) Jolly Pumpkin Clementia
This beer has a wildly unique spicing blend. These spices include clementine, coriander, lime peel, yuzu peel, and pink Himalayan salt. It takes dedication to take so diverse a palate of spices and make flavor succeed in beer.
When enthusiasts pour this beer they find a consistent head that keeps throughout the glass and an aroma from the lime peels. The enticing bouquet brings in for the taste that presents the yuzu first and then the coriander.
The salt pushes the juicy flavor and keeps it tart without souring the beer and detracting from the overall flavor.
4) De Garde Nelson Hose
This one is an homage to Gose style beers. Gose style beer, named for its point of origin in Goslar, Germany, is normally fermented in at least fifty percent malted wheat.
De Garde Nelson Hose is fermented Gose style with Nelson Sauvin hops (so named because of their striking similarity to Sauvignon wine).
This beer pours with a thick head that dissipates quickly with a bitter orange and coriander aroma. The fruity flavor lasts longer than most wit bier and the salty finish make it a refreshing and fun summer drink.
5) Suarez Family Settle Down
Aged in oak casks, the Suarez Family Settle Down brings a darker flavor profile than most of the beers on this list.
As with all of the others, coriander is the main character in the brewing process, but also includes locally sourced lemon verbena, giving it a great tart finish.
At the top of the experience, the head pours foamy and light and lasts longer than any of the other beers listed above. Its fruity presentation and lemony aftertaste are balanced out by bold hops.
Belgian Wit Bier
Perhaps you aren’t as entranced by the coriander flavor, or perhaps you just do not have highly focused specialty beer shops near you where you can find these obscure names.
Either way, the obvious place to look if you like Hoegaarden and would like to try other similar beer varieties is to the classic Belgian wit. Here are a few other widely distributed names you can definitely look out for.
1) Shock Top Belgian White
Perhaps as famous for its commercials run with T. J Miller as for its orange headed brand mascot, Shock Top Belgian White forgoes beer snobbery for a blander taste.
Most people who rate Shock Top don’t rate it as badly as widely distributed American lager but won’t write home about it either. It still brings a citrusy taste, but the aroma is rather flat, and the aftertaste is bitter instead of tart.
2) Blue Moon Belgian White
With a history of awards won in the 90’s, Blue Moon Belgian White hits above its expected weight class. Like Hoegaarden, which is nationally distributed, Blue Moon nonetheless is able to overcome the low expectations of high distribution.
Its head pours thin, but its aroma is a thick bouquet of coriander and orange peel. Its aftertaste is bitter, but not detracting.
3) New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian White
Fat Tire helped kick off of the craft beer craze and has overcome the stigma that its own fandom helped to create: the scorn of the nationally distributed beer for favor of the craft beer.
New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian White hits a lot of the most important road signs along the way for a successful wit bier. It has coriander bouquet and pours foamy. But where it shines is in its flavor profile.
The flavors arrive (in order of appearance) wheat, citrus, spices, then yeast. The taste is malty sweet and the aftertaste has a lightly sweet finish that balances well with the unfiltered wheat and light carbonation.
The Bottom Line
Whether you are watching the sun set at the end of the work day, or watching the family enjoy the end of a day at the beach, a crisp Hoegaarden is hard to beat.
But if you want to branch out and explore some of the other aspects that make Hoegaarden such an enjoyable glass of beer, these are some great options that are just a short trip (or internet order) away.