This orange slice offers citrus aroma that accentuates the crispness and refreshing qualities of the beer, and is an eye-catching piece of marketing.
Sometimes you need to look closely at the beer menu to find those special seasonal treats. And when I looked closely at the menu of Gray's Tied House.
Style: A Belgian wheat, which can also be called a Belgian white or witbier. The witbier style is known for its cloudy, light-golden to straw color, grainy and spicy aroma, and pleasant sweetness with a citrus background. These beers can be very refreshing, thanks to their crisp, fruity qualities. They often end with a lightly tart or dry finish. The style dates back more than 400 years, but until the past decade it wasn't very popular in the U.S. Today, Hoegaarden (in Flanders region of Belgium) and Blue Moon (by MillerCoors) are the most widely recognized Belgian Whites.
Background:, To my surprise, the name of this beer, Winter Wheat, has to do less with the beer's qualities and more with an extra tap handle that just happened to be available, at least according to my bartender on a recent visit to the Gray's Tied House in Verona. Winter Wheat is a Belgian Wheat that was released in early June for a special corporate party at the Tied House. It is expected to remain on tap through July. In past seasons Gray's has bottled a witbier at its production brewery in Janesville, and while this beer has some similar qualities, it is unique to the Verona brewpub.
- Aroma: Lightly grainy, with just a hint of roastedness.
- Appearance: Hazy, yellow-orange color with a thin, bubbly white head.
- Texture: Light and bubbly.
- Taste: A lightly yeasty beginning with a sour fruity background.
- Finish/Aftertaste: Grainy with spiciness and a faint tint of coriander.
Glassware: Gray's Tied House will serve this beer in a typical bar pint glass. But if you take a half-gallon growler of this beer home, appreciate its color in a tall Weizen glass. The witbier is commonly served with a orange slice on the rim of the glass, while the German hefeweizen is served with a lemon slice on the glass. This orange slice offers citrus aroma that accentuates the crispness and refreshing qualities of the beer, and is an eye-catching piece of marketing.
Pairs well with: This beer's light, crisp, spicy qualities are a great match with a summer salad. Gray's Pacific Rim salad, with its mixed greens and peanut dressing, is a solid choice. The brewpub's pita wheat salad is another great pairing, featuring warm whole wheat pita bread with chicken salad, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes.
Rating: Two Bottle Openers (out of four).
The Consensus: This beer has not received enough ratings to be evaluated by Beer Advocate nor Rate Beer.
The Verdict: This beer has some firm fruity and spicy qualities. Its crispness is refreshing. But the beer geek in me feels this beer almost is more of a German Hefeweizen in its aggressive yeasty qualities, color and not-so-subtle sour background. While this beer could be ideal for summer, one needs to overlook the name, or at least appreciate its sarcasm.