beertaccini's lablanche 2014 - IMG_0424
Witbier, white beer, bière blanche, or simply witte is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium and the Netherlands. It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins which cause the beer to look hazy, or white, when cold. It is a descendant from those medieval beers which were not brewed with hops, but instead flavoured and preserved with a blend of spices and other plants referred to as "gruit". Gruit is still used today, although nowadays the gruit consists mainly of coriander, orange, bitter orange, and hops. The taste is therefore only slightly hoppy. The beers have a somewhat sour taste due to the presence of lactic acid. In the past, the Belgian wheat beers were much more sour than is the case now. The suspended yeast in the beer causes some continuing fermentation in the bottle.
Witbier differs from other varieties of wheat beer in the use of gruit. French regulation (part of the territory was French in the 14th century) excluded the use of hops in gruit. Witbier can be made with raw wheat, in addition to wheat malt.
In recent times, some Belgian brewers have been making fruit flavoured wheat beers