Clementine Wheat

Clown Shoes: Clementine White Ale (USA: Belgian Wit: 6% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed grain with very large suded mounds of froth for a head. Quite hazy main body.

Nose: Wheat and pepper. Lemon fresh jiff. Light bitterness. Turmeric earthy hints.

Body: Bitter and wheaty. Tangerine juice. Mild gingerbread. Prickly and peppery. Robust up front, thinner at the end. Mild malt toffee middle.

Finish: Light bitterness. Digestives. Light zest and orange. Pepper. Lemon curd. Light peppermint.

Conclusion: Clown Shoes, take 2. Here they are using a very traditional wit base, but with a bit of a twist in the effects of the flavouring and spice. I say effects as the ingredients are pretty standard, coriander and orange peel, using either of these is not unusual in any way. However here the orange feels fuller and sweeter than most, while the spice feels more pepper like and dry. In many ways it inverts my expectations of slightly tarter fruit and more grounded spice.

The wheaty base layers the bitterness on a bit heavier than normal, and more notably the bitterness is more hoppy in style as well. What does this create? Well a more up front beer. The Belgian takes can go from overly sweet in some of the more mainstream efforts, to quite dry and subtle in some of the more traditional. This is more up front without being pandering, but still has some of the subtle lemon notes of the traditional take.

How well does it work? Well it is pleasing, the hop bitterness and pepper give a rough edge that works well with the wheat, and the orange is a good contrast. It has a limited range of flavours, but lines them up so they work reasonably well off each other. It doesn’t seem to be trying for challenging like Blanche du Paradis. or booming like not just another wit. It is instead an everyday enjoyable wit that mixes American hop obsession with Belgian wit subtlety and in that it makes for a good summer filled yet bitter beer.

Now a showstopper, but pleasant and brightens a day while still having some edge.

Background: Made with orange peel and coriander, which is pretty standard for wit beers. This was picked up from Brewdog’s guest beer selection. I was trying for an impressive head on the pour of the is, and went a bit overboard, resulting in having to rapidly sip the rising froth to stop it overflowing. Not much else to add on this one.

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