8 Best Beers Like Hoegaarden

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Hoegaarden, the beloved Belgian witbier, has won the hearts of beer lovers everywhere. But what if you’re craving something similar yet new? Finding beers that match Hoegaarden’s refreshing taste can be tricky. Fear not! In this article, we’ll introduce you to a selection of beers like Hoegaarden, sharing its delightful qualities.

beers like hoegaarden
Photo by George Cox on Unsplash

Table of Contents

Key Characteristics of Belgian Wheat Beers

Belgian wheat beers, or witbiers, are renowned for their distinct characteristics that set them apart from other beer styles. These refreshing ales typically have an alcohol content ranging from 4.5% to 5.5% ABV, making them a light and easy-drinking option.

The use of a significant proportion of wheat malt, usually around 50% of the grain bill, contributes to the beer’s signature cloudy appearance and smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The wheat also lends a subtle, slightly sweet flavour that perfectly complements the other ingredients.

A defining feature of Belgian wheat beers is the incorporation of spices, particularly coriander and orange peel. The coriander adds an earthy, subtle spiciness, while the orange peel introduces a bright, citrusy tang. This combination creates a complex and refreshing flavour profile that is instantly recognizable.

The unique character of Belgian wheat beers is also attributed to the special strains of yeast used in the brewing process. These yeasts produce a range of enticing flavours and aromas, such as notes of clove, banana, vanilla, and even bubblegum, which harmonize beautifully with the spices.

Belgian wheat beers are intentionally left unfiltered, resulting in a charmingly hazy appearance and a thick, long-lasting head. The suspended yeast and protein particles enhance the beer’s body and mouthfeel, contributing to a satisfying drinking experience.

With their light body, lively carbonation, and relatively low bitterness (usually around 10-20 IBUs), Belgian wheat beers are incredibly refreshing and thirst-quenching. They are best served chilled, between 4-7°C (39-45°F), in a tall, slender glass that showcases their hazy, golden hue and allows the delicate aromas to be fully appreciated.

If you’re a fan of the refreshing, citrusy flavour of Hoegaarden, you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of other beers out there that share similar characteristics. From Belgian classics to international craft brews, let’s explore some top-notch wheat beers that’ll tantalise your taste buds.

Blue Moon Belgian White

One of the most well-known Hoegaarden alternatives, Blue Moon Belgian White is a refreshing witbier that’s perfect for a summer’s day. Brewed with Valencia orange peel and coriander, it has a subtle sweetness and a light, spicy finish. The cloudy appearance and creamy head are reminiscent of Hoegaarden, making it a great choice for fans of the classic Belgian beer.

Serving Tip: For an extra burst of citrus, garnish your Blue Moon with a slice of orange. The oils from the peel will enhance the beer’s zesty aroma.

Shock Top Belgian White

Another American take on the Belgian witbier style, Shock Top is a crisp and lively beer that’s brewed with real orange, lemon, and lime peels. The result is a bright, citrusy flavour profile that’s balanced by a hint of coriander spice. Like Hoegaarden, it has a hazy, golden appearance and a fluffy white head.

Food Pairing: Shock Top pairs brilliantly with light, summery dishes like grilled fish tacos or a fresh salad with citrus vinaigrette.

Wittekerke

Hailing from Belgium, Wittekerke is a classic witbier that’s been brewed since the 1930s. It has a soft, wheat-forward flavour with notes of lemon, herbs, and a touch of peppery spice. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, making it a delightful sipper on a warm afternoon.

Tasting Note: Take a moment to appreciate Wittekerke’s delicate aroma before diving in. You’ll pick up subtle hints of wildflowers and freshly baked bread.

St. Bernardus Wit

Brewed by the renowned St. Bernardus brewery in Belgium, this witbier is a bit fuller-bodied than Hoegaarden but shares its refreshing, spicy character. The flavour profile features notes of ripe banana, clove, and a whisper of vanilla, all balanced by a zesty orange twang. It’s a bit stronger than Hoegaarden at 5.5% ABV, but dangerously drinkable nonetheless.

Serving Tip: St. Bernardus Wit is best enjoyed in a traditional Belgian witbier glass, which helps to showcase its hazy, golden hue and pillowy head.

Allagash White

This American interpretation of a Belgian wit is brewed with a generous portion of wheat and spiced with coriander and Curaçao orange peel. Allagash White has a soft, pillowy mouthfeel and a bright, citrusy flavour that’s sure to please Hoegaarden fans. The finish is dry and spicy, with a lingering hint of peppery goodness.

Food Pairing: The citrusy, spicy notes in Allagash White make it a great partner for seafood dishes like mussels or grilled shrimp.

Blanche de Namur

This classic Belgian witbier has been brewed since the 1800s and is named after the legendary Queen Blanche of Namur. It has a soft, hazy appearance and a delicate aroma of wheat, citrus, and spice. On the palate, Blanche de Namur is refreshing and light, with a subtle sweetness balanced by a dry, spicy finish. It’s a perfect choice for Hoegaarden lovers who want to explore a more traditional Belgian wit.

Tasting Note: As you sip Blanche de Namur, note how the flavours evolve from a soft, bready sweetness to a crisp, spicy finish.

Hitachino Nest White Ale

Hailing from Japan, Hitachino Nest White Ale is a unique take on the witbier style. Brewed with wheat malt, coriander, orange peel, and nutmeg, it has a complex flavour profile that’s sure to intrigue Hoegaarden fans. The beer pours a hazy, pale gold with a fluffy white head. On the palate, it’s crisp and refreshing, with notes of citrus, spice, and a hint of sake-like fruitiness from the Japanese rice used in the brewing process.

Food Pairing: The delicate, spicy flavours of Hitachino Nest White Ale pair beautifully with sushi or grilled chicken skewers.

Avery White Rascal

This American witbier from Colorado’s Avery Brewing Company is a nod to the classic Belgian style, but with a bold, hop-forward twist. Brewed with coriander and orange peel, White Rascal has a zesty, citrusy aroma and a refreshing, slightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is light and effervescent, making it a great choice for warm weather sipping.

Serving Tip: White Rascal is best served in a tall, narrow glass to showcase its hazy, golden appearance and to help maintain its lively carbonation.

How to Enjoy Beers Like Hoegaarden

To fully appreciate the delightful nuances of wheat beers like Hoegaarden and its alternatives, it’s essential to consider a few key factors that can elevate your tasting experience. From choosing the right glassware to nailing the perfect serving temperature, these simple tips will help you savour every sip of your favourite witbier.

Glassware Matters

While it might be tempting to reach for a standard pint glass, serving your wheat beer in the proper glassware can make a world of difference. Opt for a tall, slender glass with a slightly flared lip, such as a traditional Belgian witbier glass or a weizen glass. These shapes help to showcase the beer’s hazy, golden hue while allowing the fluffy, pillowy head to form and persist. The narrow design also concentrates the delicate aromas of citrus, spice, and yeast, enhancing your sensory experience.

Nail the Perfect Serving Temperature

Wheat beers like Hoegaarden are best enjoyed when served slightly chilled, around 4-7°C (39-45°F). This temperature range allows the beer’s refreshing, thirst-quenching qualities to shine through while still maintaining its subtle flavour nuances. Avoid serving your witbier too cold, as this can dull the taste and aroma. If you’ve stored your beer in the fridge, consider letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before pouring.

Garnish with a Twist

Many wheat beers, including Blue Moon and Shock Top, are traditionally served with a slice of orange perched on the rim of the glass. This simple garnish doesn’t just add a pop of colour; it also enhances the beer’s citrusy aroma and flavour. As you sip, the essential oils from the orange peel will mingle with the beer, creating a delightful sensory experience. Experiment with other citrus garnishes, such as lemon or lime, to discover new flavour combinations.

Perfect Pairings

Wheat beers like Hoegaarden are incredibly food-friendly, thanks to their light, refreshing character and subtle spicy notes. These beers are a natural match for seafood dishes, particularly those with a hint of citrus or herbs. Try pairing your favourite witbier with a plate of steamed mussels, grilled shrimp skewers, or a crisp salad topped with seared scallops. The beer’s effervescence and zesty flavour will complement the delicate taste of the seafood, creating a harmonious and refreshing dining experience.

Wrap Up

In summary, Belgian wheat beers like Hoegaarden are refreshing and flavourful, with unique characteristics from wheat malt, spices, and special yeast strains. Many other beers share similar qualities, such as Blue Moon, Shock Top, and Allagash White. To fully enjoy these beers, serve them in proper glassware at the ideal temperature, and consider garnishing with citrus. Wheat beers also pair well with various foods, especially seafood dishes, making them a versatile choice for any occasion.

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Beers Like Hoegaarden: FAQs

Which beer is similar to Hoegaarden?

Beers similar to Hoegaarden include other Belgian witbiers (white beers) such as Allagash White, Blue Moon Belgian White, and St. Bernardus Wit. These beers share characteristics with Hoegaarden, featuring a wheat base, citrus and spice notes, and a refreshing, hazy appearance. Other comparable styles include German Hefeweizen and American Wheat Ale.

What style of beer is Hoegaarden?

Hoegaarden is a Belgian witbier, also known as a Belgian white ale or “bière blanche.” This style is characterized by the use of a significant proportion of wheat in the grain bill, along with the addition of spices like coriander and orange peel. These beers are typically pale and hazy in appearance, with a refreshing, crisp flavor profile.

Is Hoegaarden beer an ale or lager?

Hoegaarden is an ale. The distinction between ales and lagers lies in the type of yeast used during fermentation and the temperature at which fermentation occurs. Ales, including witbiers like Hoegaarden, are fermented with top-fermenting yeast strains at relatively warm temperatures, typically between 60-75°F (15-24°C). This results in a quicker fermentation process and the development of fruit and spice notes.

Why is Hoegaarden so good?

Hoegaarden’s popularity can be attributed to its refreshing and unique flavor profile. The use of wheat in the grain bill provides a light, crisp base, while the addition of coriander and orange peel imparts a subtle spiciness and citrusy tang. The beer’s hazy appearance and effervescent carbonation further contribute to its thirst-quenching properties, making it a perfect choice for warm weather or as an introduction to craft beer.

By Tickety Brew

Ivor Ardghal : Brewer and Writer at Tickety Brew