4.9% ABV from a scalding hot glass fresh from the dishwater, garnished with a lemon even though I explicitly did not ask for fruit in my beer. AKA: Ideal drinking conditions.
My friend was besmirching Hoegaarden at the bar the other day, saying real nasty things like, “I don’t even think it’s better than Blue Moon,” so I had to defend its honor and give it a Vice Blog-approved tasting to prove that it is indeed a superior Belgian white. I haven’t had Hoegaarden in ages, perhaps years (is a year longer than an “age”?), but it still holds a special place it my corroded heart. It was the first Belgian beer I ever had and it immediately made me sit up and realize WOW, they are doing things with fermented beverages in that country that I have never experienced before. In my Leffe Blonde entry I discuss first falling in love with Belgian beers and Hoegaarden (along with Leffe and Duvel) are the one that started that romance, making me into the brew-guzzling snob I am today.
The more I got into beer, though, stuff like Hoegaarden just seemed too “mainstream,” too low in ABV for me to still order at bars. But having just had it again, I must admit that Hoegaarden is still delicious. In fact, it’s perhaps the best Belgian white in the world with only Allagash, Ommegang, and St. Bernardus’s releases as worthy competitors.
Hoegaarden–God I’m sick of spelling that name, I can never remember which vowel to double! It’s worse than Haagen-Dazs but at least it has no umlauts–has a perfect spice blend like in any great witbier, giving it a terrific smell and taste. This is a beer that is truly great in the summer, fuck those other beers that have to put “summer” on their label to make you think they are refreshing. I don’t need to know what season I’m supposed to drink your beer, fella. Hoegaarden is citrusy with just a hint of wheat and creaminess, a nice easy finish. In retrospect, there’s nothing mind-blowing about this beer, but is there anything mind-blowing about any Belgian whites? It’s not exactly a style that lends itself to going out on a limb and creating something to blow your testicles off. They’re simply beers that are light and taste good. Hoegaarden nails it.
(And it’s always cool to drink a beer in its own brand-labeled, specially-designed glassware!)