In 2008, homebrewer-turned-pro Patrick Rue opened The Bruery in Orange County, CA. He started to play around with witbier recipes, and created a classic style wit, as well as this opaque and rich Black Orchard Wit. This recipe was featured in the May/June 2009 Zymurgy article, “Seeing the Light: Belgian Session Beers.”
Witbiers are a brewer’s playground. For one, fruits and spices pop from its sweet, bready profile. Also, the beer descends from gruit ales—an old herb mixture used to bitter and flavor beer. Now, your spice collection suddenly has a little more purpose. For example, clove, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon will give a numbing sensation that cuts sweetness. Try using spelt or other grains for some of the wheat to play with the flavor profile.
In the end, a witbier should bring the full experience of Belgium and still allow you coherently hold a conversation. So, when the mid-week beer craving hits or you’re planning out a brew day, oft for a refreshing, light witbier ale instead.