The craft beer market is comprised of hundreds of documented beer varieties and a handful of organisations with their own unique classifications, but beers primarily fall into one of three types: bottom fermentation beers (lagers); top fermentation beers (ales); and spontaneous or wild fermentation beers.
Within each of these categories there are many sub-groups but the main styles available today are dark ales; pale ales; stouts; wheat beers; strong ales; lagers; sour beers; and non-alcoholic beers.
CATEGORIES: Weissbier, Witbier ABV: 4.5% to 8% SERVE TEMPERATURE: 6-8°C TASTING NOTES: From cloves and banana to coriander and orange
Wheat Beer is beer made from wheat. The two most famous versions are Weissbier (German for white beer), which originates in Bavaria, and Witbier (Flemish for white beer), which comes from Belgium.
Weissbier is made with malted wheat, which generally makes up around 70% of the grain. It is cloudy, with a prominent fluffy head, and is often served in a tall, wide-lipped glass. The most famous version of Bavarian Weissbier is Hefeweizen, an unfiltered, golden version. The flavour is dominated by banana and cloves and the beer is smooth and creamy. Dark Weissbiers (Dunkelweisse or Dunkelweizen) and filtered Weissbiers (Kristal) exist but they are much less common, particularly in the UK.
Hefeweisses tend to be around 5% ABV, although Weizenbocks are much stronger (between 6.5 and 8%).
Witbier boasts similar characteristics to its Bavarian cousin, but unmalted yeast is used and it generally makes up less than 50% of the overall grain. It is cloudy and golden, with its flavour dominated by spices such as coriander and orange peel. They vary between 4.5 and 5.5% in strength.