This is the standard-setter, perfectly formed. Its head is everlasting, and its body is cloudy—not murky or opaque—so that the sun lights it up like a golden-orange jewel. Spicy cloves waft in balance with banana esters and zesty hints of citrus. The flavor is soft but tangy, its body lush but lively, tingling the palate and the brain.
Loc: Freising, Bavaria, Germany
St. Bernardus Wit
Well-known for some of Belgium’s most accomplished abbey ales, this brewery among the hop fields of West Flanders also happens to produce one of its best wheat beers. Pierre Celis himself developed the recipe; a hazy pale gold, it fits the Hoegaarden mold but lands more on the citrus side, with a subtle acidity that makes the total package more quenching.
Loc: Watou, West Flanders
Pale, hazy, yellow-gold with creamy mousse, smelling of herbs and orange wedges, kissing the palate with soft, smooth hop bitterness that balances the spice, while very light tartness draws out the peel. Allagash is proud that this beer tastes the “same” as it did 25 years ago, but we suspect otherwise—that it has been continually tweaked and refined into greater excellence.
Loc: Portland, Maine
Three Floyds Gumballhead
Leaders of the new school American approach to hoppy wheats, Three Floyds charted a new and compelling path for combining yeasty, fruity esters with modern Pacific Northwest hops. The result is a beer that still feels current and daring, with a banana-meets-kiwi nose, mild bitterness, and a juicy fruit body that remains much leaner than current hazy pale contemporaries.
Loc: Munster, Indiana