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Charlotte brewers turn to wheat beers in spring

By Daniel Hartis
Daniel Hartis
Daniel Hartis is the author of “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City” and the editor of the website CharlotteBeer.com.

Beer Here is a new column on the Charlotte beer scene by writer Daniel Hartis. Look for it once a month in the Food section.

Spring is here, and Charlotte brewers are putting aside the dark malts used in porters and stouts in favor of wheat, which they are using to craft their own unique takes on two classic styles: German hefeweizen and Belgian witbier.

Wheat gives beers a lighter body and color, along with a slightly tart flavor that makes these styles perfect for warm-weather sipping.

Here are a few to look for at Charlotte breweries:

Belgian Witbier

Even if you’re not an avid beer drinker, you’ve likely had a Belgian witbier or at least seen a Blue Moon parade across your TV. Ditch the orange, though, as the beer’s yeast provides subtle citrus notes. It is also not uncommon for brewers to add orange peel or additional spices, such as coriander.

As the name implies, NoDa Brewing’s NoDajito is brewed with ingredients typically found in a mojito – mint and lime – which really stand out against the delicate witbier base.

The brewery’s Ghost Hop is also brewed with wheat and fermented with the same yeast, but then hopped like an IPA to provide an interesting marriage of two very different styles.

German Hefeweizen

Where the witbier’s yeast imparts citrus notes, a German hefeweizen yeast calls to mind banana, clove and even bubblegum.

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Hornet’s Nest Hefeweizen returned to the brewery May 10 (hurry and you might also catch its darker cousin, the Dunkelweizen).

Triple C Brewing’s Hyzer Hefeweizen was named in honor of Charlotte’s many disc golf courses (“Anhyzer” is a type of throw, “Hyzer” is another. Is it any wonder they went with the latter?)

NoDa Brewing brewed a hefeweizen called Weizen Up in partnership with Whole Foods. Just down the road from NoDa, Heist Brewery always has at least one hefeweizen on, and you can often find fruit-infused versions or a filtered version called kristalweizen.

Daniel Hartis is the author of “Charlotte Beer: A History of Brewing in the Queen City” and the editor of the website www.charlottebeer.com. Email: cltbeer@gmail.com.
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