Hoegaarden Witbier is a Belgian wheat beer that’s widely distributed and available internationally in bars and shops.


Native English speakers tend to pronounce the beer’s name as if it’s a long-handled implement used for weeding, followed by place of horticulture. To ask for it in Flemish-speaking Belgium, where it’s brewed, you should pronounce it ‘who-haarden’, the ‘g’ sounding more like a rolling ‘h’.

Hoegaarden is one of the stable of brands owned by the world’s biggest brewing company. The popular wheat beer shares its name with the village approximately 20 kilometres south-east of Leuven, where local enthusiast Pierre Celis began brewing wheat beer in the mid-1960s. Featuring orange peel and coriander seeds, the recipe is said to be inspired by one used by monks six centuries ago.

The result is an easily palatable drink. The colour of pale straw, Hoegaarden Witbier is cloudy and froths into a white head when poured. The technique for the perfect pour involves decanting two-thirds of a glass then swirling the bottle before topping off. The beer has aromas of fruit and spice and a smooth mouthfeel. Many bartenders add a slice of lemon to emphasise the citrusy notes of this beer. It makes for a refreshing beer that is a good choice as a first drink of the night.

Hoegaarden’s exotic flavours mean it complements spicy food. Singaporean style soft-shelled crab, prawn crackers with a sambal dipping sauce and grilled chicken doused in satay sauce are three of the dishes that I found paired well with this wheat beer.

Brewer: InBev Belgium
Strength: 4.9 per cent

Stuart Forster was named Journalist of the Year at the 2015, 2016 and 2019 Holland Press Awards. Five generations of his family have been actively involved in the brewing industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’