Few people can claim to have saved a beer style from extinction. But if the cloudy Belgian wheat beer called “wit” is now a staple of American brewers and brewpubs, and re-established in its homeland, Pierre Celis deserves much of the credit.
In a series of interviews with journalist Raymond Billen, Celis describes his life in brewing with an enthusiasm that keeps him still young at 80, and a resilience that has seen him through set-backs and sell-outs. He recounts his involvement in breweries from Hoegaarden in Belgium, to Texas and Michigan, and back to Belgium once again, where he is again creating new beers.
A collection of interviews is inevitably episodic, so the publisher has wisely added concluding testimonials that pull the book together. In particular, an essay by Michael Jackson puts the achievements of this remarkable man in context.