Brouwerij De Brabandere - Wittekerke Wild
Serving Temperature:40-45° F
Suggested Glassware:Flute, Tulip
Brabandere’s Wittekerke witbier is one of the brewery’s most popular brews, delivering a more flavorful and authentic witbier experience than the ubiquitous Blue Moon and Shock Top offerings which have become so popular in the States. Wittekerke Wild is a unique version which takes the unusual step of partially fermenting the beer with the wild yeasts and bacteria the brewery uses in their world-class line of Petrus sour ales. The brewers harvest the microorganisms from Petrus’s giant oak barrels known as foeders, and include them in Wittekerke Wild’s primary fermentation.
Presenting a cloudy straw color and capped by white foam, this brew offers an engaging aroma as we lean in. Expect classic witbier notes including coriander and lemon impressions accompanied by a little green apple and a unique tart and lightly funky (a highly technical term) character thanks to the Petrus influence. Like the aroma, the flavor is, well... wild. We got the classic crackery, wheaty witbier malt core and yeast-driven phenols, but the lemony character is amped up by the tart acidity. There are touches of apple and wisps of berry and melon. A bit of residual sweetness gives way to the tartness, but it never reaches the level of bracing sourness that many Flemish sour ales, like Petrus, can achieve. Instead, this stays light and refreshing on the palate, with lifting effervescence and bright acidity keeping this brew dry and beckoning another sip. This is a sessionable ale we enjoy all on its own, but food pairings that play off the wheaty center and tart lemony notes are welcome. Fish & chips, fried chicken, and grilled shrimp with lemon all sound good to us. Cheers!
In 1894, Flemish farmer Adolphe De Brabandere requested authorization to build a brewery in a small village in the south of Western Flanders – Bavikhove. Like most farmers of his day, Adolphe knew how to brew beer and did so at his farmhouse, using his brew for the family’s consumption. Four generations later, Brouwerij De Brabandere (until 2014 known as Brouwerij Bavik) is today as it was then: a family business. The adoption of the family name for the brewery underscores the importance of this fact to the brewery. Despite many corporate buy-outs of numerous Belgian breweries, some as old as 500 years of age, Brouwerij De Brabandere is determined to retain their independence while guaranteeing the same quality, character, and regional specificity that their various beers have enjoyed for over 125 years.
The brewery’s first principal brewer was Adolphe’s son, Joseph De Brabandere. In 1894 the number of smaller breweries in Belgium was already in decline as a result of the hugely popular Pilsner style of beer. This type of light-colored, bottom-fermented lager quickly superseded Belgium’s traditional local ales in popularity. A true entrepreneur and wise businessman, Joseph De Brabandere capitalized on this new trend in beer drinking and became the most important Pilsner brewer in his region.
The family business enjoyed its successful standing in the area until 1914 when the German army invaded the region and confiscated the brewery, forcing its closure during World War I. Incredibly, after the turmoil and devastation of the war, Joseph was able to restart the brewery. But, with the outbreak of the Second World War, the brewery’s fate was again threatened. Miraculously, Joseph’s wife Gabrielle was able to convince the Germans to keep the brewery open during the war. Eventually, the brewery passed to Joseph and Gabrielle’s children who developed the brewery further through modernization and market expansion. Today, helmed by Ignace De Brabandere and his son, Albert, Brouwerij De Brabandere is the largest brewery of West Flanders, and their immaculate and gleaming stainless steel and old-fashioned copper kettles produce the well-respected Bavik, Petrus, Wittekerke, and Kwaremont lines.
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