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Texas brew review: Real Ale White

Posted 7:52am on Wednesday, Jul. 09, 2014

Texas brewing is typically known for being dominated by its German heritage. A mid-1800s boom of immigrants brought with it the methods, styles and traditions that helped shaped our state’s pre-Prohibition brewing. While that influence still exists, a Belgian influence from the 1990s left a mark on the Texas brewing scene and on brewers across the world, and it’s becoming more and more prevalent.

Pierre Celis had revived the centuries-old Belgian-style witbier in his hometown of Hoegaarden, Belgium, in the 1960s before selling his brewery and moving to Texas to start a new one in the 1990s. While Pierre operated in Texas, Celis White instantly became one of our state’s treasures, and despite his departure, the witbier is still a perpetual hit. It’s a crisp, clean-finishing style with a slightly fruity, spicy characteristic that adds a bit of intrigue to what would otherwise be a light, easy-drinking beer.

Community, Shiner and (512) are just a few of the Texas breweries that produce the classic style, while countless other U.S. breweries make one also. Even Coors is in on the witbier game, with Blue Moon being one of the more popular growing brands for the giant brewer.

Traditions are cool and all, but in the true American spirit, we take inspiration from the old and push forward with the new. This is precisely what Blanco-based Real Ale Brewing did with White, its latest seasonal offering. Packaged in stark, beautifully designed white and silver cans, White is everything we’ve become used to from a wit but with decidedly American influence. Using heavy doses of dry hopping (hops added for flavor but not bitterness), White is refreshing and clean, but the hop additions provide a different kind of balance. Fruity, slightly floral hops help lift the other characteristics of a standard witbier, and the result is something wholly different than you might be accustomed to.

Although this may not have been the type of beer Pierre Celis would have thought to produce, he, like any good brewer, would likely have respected the creativity constantly exercised by one of Texas’ best breweries.

Quick sips

One year for The Bearded Lady: Magnolia Avenue beer hot spot The Bearded Lady is celebrating its one - year anniversary from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday with live music all day and loads of rare beer tappings from Martin House, Real Ale, Founders and others. Entry is $5, or free if you come dressed as a bearded lady. Pantyhose optional.

Fest for the Fat: The fourth annual Fat Tire Festival (no, not that Fat Tire — the biking fat tire) will be held Sunday at Fort Worth’s Gateway Park. Benefiting the Fort Worth Mountain Bikers’ Association, the festival will feature beers from Rahr, Martin House and Collective to go along with all the bike festivities. Admission is $15.

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