A witbier found at the Belgium booth during the 2011 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, Hoegaarden Original Belgian Wheat Beer gets its name from the village of Hoegaarden in Belgium. The witbier style originated from this village; however, this beer was first brewed in 1965 by Pierre Celis, who tried to bring back the witbier after all the breweries in the village closed.
After a fire destroyed the Hoegaarden brewery, Interbrew (later InBev after a merger with AmBev) helped rebuild the Hoegaarden brewery in exchange for a share of Hoegaarden’s business. Celis, however, believed Interbrew wanted to change the recipe of the witbier, so he eventually sold Hoegaarden to Interbrew and moved to Austin, TX.
In Austin, Celis began brewing the Hoegaarden recipe at the Celis Brewery. Miller eventually bought the brewery, but then sold the Celis brand and equipment to Michigan Brewing.
Meanwhile, despite controversy and an attempted move by InBev, Hoegaarden is still brewed in the village of Hoegaarden. The Hoegaarden brewery produces five beers, but its most popular and famous is still the original witbier.
Hoegaarden is traditionally served in a hexagonal glass; unfortunately, I didn’t have one so I used one of my usual glasses. Let’s face it; at Epcot you’ll be getting this in a plastic cup anyway.
The Hoegaarden witbier is a pale, cloudy yellow and it has a light wheat scent. A sip of the beer brings a decent amount of wheat taste with some citrus and banana flavor. There’s a little spice as well. Not much bitterness to speak of here, however; the beer finishes clean and smooth.
Hoegaarden is a light and refreshing beer that would be good on a hot day in Epcot. It’s not a particularly strong or overpowering beer but it’s tasty. However, it’s also a beer that you can find at the grocery store fairly easily. If you’re trying to stick to beers that are hard to find, this isn’t one. But if you’re just looking for a good beer to stroll around World Showcase Lagoon with, give Hoegaarden a try.