Whaleback White | Leelanau Brewing Company
Style: Wheat Beer - Witbier
Description: For a beer in a style that was almost extinct, this one has a whole lot of life. Wit (or white) beers were a popular style in Belgium for five hundred years, and even a century ago there were many artisan producers; but in the post-war years the last of the traditional white beers ceased production. Now, decades after the style's resurrection, a handcrafted ale replete with the complexities and liveliness that endeared generations of beer aficionados is available again. White beers are different from other wheat beers by the addition of orange peel and spices like coriander; this one is distinguished from all other wit beers in a few important ways. Handmade at the much lauded Jolly Pumpkin Brewery by Ron Jeffries, one of the world's great brewers, this ale is spontaneously fermented by their signature wild yeasts. This results in a beverage of uncommon vitality, so much more genuine than even the finest of many a craft brewery. Aging in a custom barrique of new French oak is a traditional, but exceedingly rare practice that lends the Leelanau beers an unmistakable character and defines Whaleback White as a style that we call Michigan Bière Blanche. Pouring a pale golden color, the evidence of bottle conditioning swirls through the glass as the head reaches for the top and releases lightly fruity, slightly grassy aromas. Tart notes of lemon and orange carry from the aroma to the body where they are joined by hints of coriander and curacao, making for a complex yet restrained flavor. Full bodied, but finishes with a crisp champagne finish. Nuanced enough for the most developed palate, yet accessible enough to be a great introduction to farmhouse styles of beer for the uninitiated. The balance of complexity and refreshment makes this a beer fit for many situations. We enjoy it with chevre and honey, most any fresh fish grilled outside on a balmy afternoon, or with Thai cuisine that packs plenty of heat. We've been known to take a few bottles on trips to the lakeshore, where its kept chilled buried in the sand, waiting to be enjoyed over a lazy fire of driftwood.