Back in August I went to the Muskoka Beer Festival! (full post here) It was a fun day and a great start to cultivating my beer palate.  Now that I'm back in school and walk by the Niagara College Brewery every day, and my next door neighbour is a self styled beermaker I'm sure I'll continue to learn about brewing :-)
I wanted to repost this section because it was so informative and interesting...

I started off my day in a sampling class taught by Roger Mittaga veritable professor of beer while I could still think and write (relatively) coherently!  I chose Weizen is Knowing (a discussion of wheat beer styles) because I was pretty sure my favourite drinks were all wheat beers, but was completely confused by the category.  I took quite a few pages of notes, but here's the basics of what I found out...

Wheat Beer (White Beer) is just as the name sounds - beer that is brewed with a large proportion of wheat and pale/hazy "white" in colour.  Most are top fermented and unfiltered which leads to a cloudy appearance, and some are "bottle conditioned" meaning the suspended yeasts cause a secondary fermentation after being bottled.  But beyond that its a broad category that is difficult to define.  Breaking it down further Roger explained the two main types of Wheat Beers are influenced by their region of origin.

German Weissbiers are cloudy, unfiltered, medium amber coloured brews with a light body, spritzey taste and aromas/flavours of banana and clove produced by the yeasts they contain.  Also known as hefeweizen or hefeweiss (the prefix hefe means yeast) in reference to the unfiltered appearance.

Belgian Witbiers are also hazy, unfiltered, light bodied beers but paler straw yellow in colour and with a more citric/tangy taste.  The aromas/flavours are of orange peel and coriander, added to the beer in the form of gruit.  This style is sometimes just called wit, the Belgian word for white.

Wheat beers that we sampled: St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat AleGarrison Blackberry WheatMuskoka Summer WeissMill St WitKLB Raspberry Wheat Ale and mentioned but not sampled: Blanche de Chambly

Knowing which wheat beer you want is only half the story -- the rest is in using an appropriate glass and a proper pour.  Along with those two basics, its good to note that the unfiltered sediments in wheat beers can settle to the bottom of the bottle, so it should be inverted before serving or gently rolled upside down, between your hands.  I feel empowered to properly enjoy my favourite brews!  All in all.. a fantastic day!  Cheers!

If you are, like me, thirsty for more knowledge check out Roger's website, blog and classes at:


  1. Out of all the cool things you get to experience, I might be most jealous of this one. Even without an alcohol content, beer is my favourite beverage - this must have been so fun!

  2. As well, that blackberry beer looks great! I was addicted to cherry beer all summer, blackberry would be awesome! Sadly our LCBO has a very limited selection of beer's like this. I'm still waiting for us to get green tea beer, almost two years after reading about it in the magazine they hand out.