Temperatures rise. The ocean beckons. Baseball bats crack. Porch swings creak. Kids chase each other around the back yard. Fireflies dot the night darkness. Ah, must be the season of the wheat. Stop! Rewind. Did they say wheat? Yes, friends this is the season of the fabulous wheat, wheat beers in all their glory and splendor rule the hot summer months for the beer lover.
Wheat beers provide a range of light, tart, tangy, refreshing flavor profiles-- perfect for summer.
One of the oldest family of beers, before the days when brewers controlled their grist mix, wheat beers provide a range of light, tart, tangy refreshing flavor profiles that simply make for delightful summer sessions of beer appreciation. From sharp lactic flavors begging for a touch of syrup to lightly fruity tastes with a wedge of orange on the rim, this family of beers has something for everyone to make a summer day or evening just that much more memorable.
The story of wheat beers near death and rebirth spans two continents over two centuries and peels back the local history of a couple beer-drenched regions, not to mention provides welcome addition to the recent American craft beer renaissance. But what a revival! Over a dozen distinct styles have charged forward attracting acclaim from beer enthusiasts around the world. Those with a passion for flavor, including white wine aficionados, are in for a joyous adventure through a collection of beverages, which are, well, simply not very beery.
Historically, brewers have used a wide range of cereals to brew beer, constrained by what grew locally. Maize, rice, rye, oats, millet and sorghum have all been exploited for brewing, but the two leading grains have been barley, the dominant choice; and wheat, the distant second.
Wheat—in the form of emmer, a low-yielding variety—was one of the first crops to be domesticated in the Fertile Crescent. The Egyptians used emmer and barley as the main ingredients in both bread and beer. Ever since, these two potential uses for the grains—baking and brewing—have periodically led to competition over limited supplies.