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Hefeweizen vs. Witbier

VIDEO – In this episode Tim and I attempt to decipher the difference between a Hefeweizen and a Witbier.  In our “Is Blue Moon Beer?” episode Tim dropped the ball and called Blue Moon a Hefeweizen.  (Thanks to Scott Jones on Facebook and Chad9976 on YouTube for the catch). This prompted us to do some research to redeem ourselves in this video.   So I turned to one of my favorite sources The Complete World of Beer Styles presented by All About Beer Magazine and in this video we share the major differences between these two types of beer.

For the readers out there, the basics boil down to the fact that a Hefeweizen is technically a weizenbock (strong) one of the four Royal Baverian Wheat Beer styles.  For reference, the other three are weissbier (white beer), weizenbier (wheat beer), and dunkelweizen (dark).

All About Beer Magazine describes them as “cloudy, quirky, spritzy and top-fermented.  Ripe with odd flavors and aromas not usually acceptable in beers, never mind German Brews.” Which brings us to a key points a hefeweizen gains its clovey and banana flavor from the natural ingredients in the beer they are not adding clove and bananas to the mash.

A Witbier is often called a Belgian Witbier. This style was developed in Belgian just east of Brussels including the village of Hoegaarden, that’s a familiar one. All About Beer Magazine describes them as “light, fluffy body and a tart lemony finish. Textured with wheat, rambunctiously yeasty, with herbal hints and scented with pungent spices.” Today some witbiers substitute the lemon finish with an orange finish, like  Blue Moon.

The major similarity between the two styles is that they are both brewed with wheat. The major difference is that they are from two completely different regions. Hefeweizen is a German style of beer while Witbier is a Belgian style of beer.

In upcoming episodes we will dive into the history of these two styles of beer, we will also be doing more with beer styles. So stay tuned and thank you for watching Here for the Beer.

14 thoughts on “Hefeweizen vs. Witbier”

  1. We are actually considering doing a series of videos about beer styles, then we could get into more detail about other wheat based brews. Thanks for watching!

  2. I’m actually in the middle of writing my Guide to Beer Styles book, so this was definitely helpful.

    Like you, I’m learning something new about beer each and every day.

  3. you mentioned weizenbock.

    When I think dark wheat a name that also springs to mind is

    with some classic examples being
    Ayinger ur-weisse
    Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel
    and more locally
    Victory Sunset Dunkleweizen

  4. Though I’m sure you’ve been corrected already :-) …. But’s it’s actually pronounced WHO-GAR-DEN… It’s Flemish :-D

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  6. Hi! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My website discusses a lot of the same topics as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

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  8. I can see how there could be a mix up. When I first tried Blue Moon (labeled Belgian Moon here in Canada) I knew it was a Wit but personally it reminded me of a mid-grade Hefeweizen

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  10. Thanks for posting the text. I’m about to order a pint and it would have been difficult to go with the video

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  12. Scott Phillips

    I Think you wanted to say that Technically, a weizenbock Can, by a stretch, be Considered a hefeweizen, not the other way around. Hefeweizen weissbier and Weizenbier are all the same thing.

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