Hoegaarden is the modern day original Belgian white. There are a number of imitators but none have really attained the perfect balance of subtlety and complexity that Hoegaarden makes seem so simple. I first had this beer in a cafe in Maastricht, Holland. It was a truly memorable experience. This beer was a revelation to me and, in some ways, was responsible for my ongoing fascination with beer.
I was pleased to find a bottle of Hoegaarden at my local grocery store recently and I snatched it up.
Unfortunately, I learned that it doesn't travel very well. Where that beer that I had in Holland was complex and rich in flavor the bottle that found me in Missouri had lost a lot. It is still a nice beer but if you have a chance try it as close to the source in Belguim as possible.
I'm sad to say that I wasn't keeping tasting notes when I had that first one in Holland so I can only share my notes on Hoegaarden with jet lag. In appearance it is perfect. It has a thick, rocky head that piles high above the rim of the glass. The beer is very pale, lighter in color than Pilsner, and cloudy. The cloudiness contributes a whiteness to the appearance, thus the name. The nose is full of fresh hops with some grains and yeast. It has a thin mouthfeel. Bananas and cloves are immediately evident in the flavor with a sweet and spicy finish. It is a wonderfully refreshing beer.
- The Original Belgian White
- Easy to drink
- Doesn't travel well
- Hard to find
- Often poorly imitated
- The original Belgian White
- Light, refreshing wheat.
- Wonderful summer ale.
The Bottom Line
Hoegaarden is the original Belgian white beer. It is best enjoyed as close to the brewery as possible as this is a beer that doesn't travel well.
But it is still worth a taste wherever you find it.