Katarina Wit

Posted to Uncategorized June 11, 2013 by dropinbrewing

Katarina WitMany years ago I had the pleasure/privilege of meeting Pierre Celis founder of Celis Brewing, the man who introduced Celis White to the USA, and who was the man behind Hoegaarden. This beer was cloudy, tart, refreshing and obscure enough that every beer aficionado sought it out. This led to an explosion of interest in the style and I made one at Humboldt Brewery in Arcata in the mid 90’s. The first one we brewed clogged up the kettle outlet so the next time we had all the staff tearing orange peel into smaller pieces. Miller Brewing Company bought Celis Brewing in Austin and the brand gradually went away. I met the legendary Joe Owades (inventor of light beer) in the early 90’s and he was working on a publicly traded contract brew called Spring Street Wit. Their big idea was to have a whole range of “Wit Biers” including a dark one. Since Wit Bier actually translates to “White Beer” the idea of a dark wit seemed as silly as Black IPA does today. We joked that a dark Wit would be called “Dim Wit”, that a light Wit would be called “Half Wit” and that an Ice Wit would have to be called “Katarina Wit.” Then my friend Keith Villa at Coors began developing a Wit beer at the Sandlot Brewery in Denver and soon Blue Moon Wit was everywhere. Shock Top from Anheuser Busch followed and I brewed Wolavers Wit (an organic Wit) followed by White Sail White ale at Otter Creek. In 2007 there were at least 9 different Wit beers available as summer releases here in Vermont. Middlebury College Alum Rob Todd owns Allagash Brewery in Portland Maine and their flagship brand is Allagash White. As brewers have begun experimenting with yeast blends in the past couple of years there has been a bit of a convergence of styles as Wit Beers and Saisons are beginning to taste similar but ours is a return to the classic Celis model. We brewed it with acidulated malt to provide a tart refreshing citrus-like flavor, the beer is spiced with toasted and ground coriander seeds, orange peel and lemon peel. It has been fermented to a very dry finish and, in keeping with the style, has not been filtered.