Michigan Brewing Co.
Available: MI, TX, OR
The white or “wit” style of beer had died out in its native Belgium when brewer Pierre Celis revived it in 1966. He subsequently moved to Texas and founded a brewery there, generating interest in the style among U.S. brewpubs. The brewery was acquired by Miller, and closed. Michigan Brewing Co. acquired the Celis recipe and began brewing the beer this year.
Alcohol by weight: 3.9
Beautiful pale, almost white, color and a slowly disintegrating head with a demanding sound. “Try me—try me,” it says. The beer is rich and beautifully managed. And, yes, it does follow Pierre (Celis) closely. Does this mean that we will get his other, formerly Texas brew, Grand Cru?? I hope so because this is a good omen for ‘03. Pierre! Welcome back.
The label is certainly familiar, a reminder of Pierre Celis and his contribution to brewing culture. The beer is amazingly pale, with a hazy greenish-gold cast. The nose shows orange peel, a whiff of spice, and some sulfur notes. The palate is surprisingly sweet, with light hopping barely holding the sugar in check. Fruit drives through the center out to a sweet finish. The sweetness is jarring—the original was fruity but dry, with an acidic twang. This is nice enough, but …ou est Pierre?
Pours with huge head, well retained. Slightly dusty, sherbet-like, aroma, hinting at a coriander spiciness which never really developed. Soft., gentle, body. Most beers show their sweetness first, then become drier; this, oddly, seems to do the opposite. Very fruity palate, but less orangey than I remember. More toward sweet lemons and limes. A liquid version of key lime pie? Even more tropical flavors: mangoes, bananas? Clean, soft, refreshing, full-flavored. Reaches back to early Hoegaarden, not quite there yet.