Brasserie Van Ecke, Poperings Hommelbier - BE (£2.25, 7.5 per cent)
VAN Ecke's witbier is nothing like other traditional wits you might have drunk before; gone are the coriander and orange peel.
This beer was first brewed in 1981 to celebrate the proud hop-growing culture of Flanders.
Intensely hopped, aromatic, and brewed to a hearty 7.5 per cent, Hommelbier gets its name from its native region's crop, and the bees that help pollinate the farmers' crops.
Hommelbier pours a glowing tangerine, under a voluminous, creamy white head. The aroma is sweet candyfloss, cloves and bananas like many other wits, but there's an edge of papaya and marzipan, coupled with a fragrant woodiness that just isn't there in its competitors.
Medium to full bodied, with a sprightly carbonation, this beer demonstrates just how luscious noble hops can be: there are peaches and pecan nuts playing on a background of vanilla, with a creamy porridge backing from the wheat.
Strong fruity esters provide further interest, banana-bread and almonds round out the finish with a substantial hop bitterness and a slight alcohol warmth.
For those who are game, I'd strongly recommend drinking this wit with the sediment, or at least some of it, in the beer; don't worry, it won't upset your tummy, it's only yeast.
Adding these critters in to the mix intensifies the wheaty nuttiness of the beer, but also adds a satisfying salty bitterness that acts as an excellent foil for the sweeter, fruitier aspects of this brew.
Recommended by Michael Bates, Trembling Madness, 48 Stonegate, York
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