One of the biggest trends in beer right now is fruit-flavoured beers. Some make sense, such as wheat ales with a hint of raspberry sweetness, while others are just outright strange, like Bud Lime Straw-ber-rita, which tastes more like a fruit cooler than a beer.
One fruity style of beer that has been popular before it was cool were unfiltered witbiers and hefeweizens — Belgian- and German-style wheat ales that have a sweetness of either oranges or bananas.
Unibroue’s Blanche de Chambly and Rickard’s White are two popular examples of the style, while Rickard’s is much more of an orangey wheat ale than most — it’s proven to be a hit, especially on the patio in summertime.
Toronto’s Amsterdam Brewery has a new-to-me wheat ale that’s a huge hit in the Toronto pub scene in summer time — Oranje Weisse Summer White Ale, a Belgian-style witbier that’s brewed with un-malted wheat to give it a hazy appearance.
Featuring two types of orange peel, coriander, and a touch of anise, with all of these flavours, it’s like a party in your mouth in patio weather.
Oranje weisse pours a very hazy golden straw yellow, with a nice amount of fluffy white cloud foam. This isn’t your filtered wheat ale — it looks like how a weisse should be. The aroma has notes of orange peels, coriander, Belgian yeast and a light bubble-gum scent.
For taste, this is a bit of a lighter wheat ale than a Rickard’s as the notes of orange are much more toned down. There still are notes of orange, orange peels, a minimal amount of coriander, a bit of a breadiness to it and a bit of a light bitter aftertaste from the hops and the Belgian yeast to give it a bittersweet flavour that lingers on and on.
Overall, this is a good example of a Belgian-style wheat ale, unfiltered so you don’t lose the subtle citrus notes and hazy as it should be.
One thing that disappoints me about this beer is that it’s not as sweet as I expected. With a name like Oranje, I expected a huge hit of orange right from the beginning. However, the orange notes are quite minimal as I’m tasting more of the Belgian yeast and coriander than the actual orange itself.
If you really want a very orangy beer, add a slice of orange. For me, I like my beers without a slice of fruit.
Fort Garry Raspberry Quencher
Remember how I was saying that fruit beers are becoming the rage? Fort Garry is also coming out with a raspberry wheat ale made with puréed raspberries. Available in 473mL cans at 4.5 per cent ABV and $2.96 per can, this could be a popular summertime treat by the campfire.
Fort Garry Evil Goat Doppelbock
I had the pleasure of trying this delicious beer right from the brewing tank back in March. This is a sweet, raisiny ale that’s going to really wow the beer geeks. Apparently at the brewery, it was so good that they weren’t able to can nearly as much as they expected, because they kept drinking it all! Then again, I drank almost a pitcher’s worth when I was visiting the brewery — it’s that good. I really appreciate that Fort Garry is really experimenting with different styles of beer. If you like a strong, sweet, caramel and raisiny beer, you will enjoy this. Pick up a can as soon as you can, as this won’t last long. It’s a powerful 8.5 per cent ABV at $3.14 per 473mL can. This will hopefully be available soon at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart and possibly the Corral Centre Liquor Mart, too.