This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Witbier Clear Summer Beer Winner For Brewers

PORTLAND, Maine ( MainStreet) -- Sixteen years ago, Rob Tod was traveling to any place with a tap handle to convince bartenders and managers that the cloudy, yellow concoction he was pouring for them was a drinkable beer. Consensus was he was nuts.

Today, that cloudy, clover-and-citrus-flavored brew makes up 70% of annual production at Portland-based Allagash Brewery, and his Allagash White flagship beer is just one of many Belgian-style witbiers on the U.S. market. It's permeated mainstream America's kegs and coolers in the form of MolsonCoors' (TAP) Blue Moon, Anheuser-Busch InBev's (BUD) Shock Top and Boston Beer's (SAM) Samuel Adams White. It's serious business for craft and corporate beer alike this summer, but Tod says it was as foreign to most Americans as Flemish when he founded Allagash in 1994.

Beer giants such as Anheuser-Busch and MolsonCoors share craft's love of wheat beer, including the Ipswich, Mass.-based Clown Shoes label.

"We could not even give that beer away when we first started making it," Tod says. "Very few people were drinking Belgian-style ales, very few people were drinking Belgian-style witbiers, and I used to walk into bars all the time 14 or 15 years ago with a sample and the first thing bartenders would say was 'What's wrong with it?"

What's "wrong" with witbier is that the yeast allowed to float around and give it a hazy color disgusted brewers adhering to the Reinheitsgebot, the German brewing purity law enacted in the early 1500s that limited beer ingredients to water, barley hops and, begrudgingly, yeast after some prompting by Louis Pasteur. Under that uptight provision, witbier's standard combination of wheat, bitter Curacao orange peel, coriander, sweet orange peel and only a slight touch of hops is about as pure as driven slush. Though some craft brewers originally prided themselves on strictly following Reinheitsgebot -- Boston Beer founder Jim Koch even used it as a marketing device in the early days of his Samuel Adams Boston Lager -- beer purity eventually started to seem prudish.

"Unlike wine, where wine is just so unilaterally one combination of things -- grapes and water -- American craft brewers in particular are proving that the limits of a beer are only up to a brewer's imagination," says Sam Calagione, founder and owner of Delaware-based Dogfish Head Brewery, which brewed its first witbier, Namaste, just two years ago. "Since we opened in 1995, we've included the whole spectrum of culinary ingredients into what we'll consider putting into beer, so we don't feel stilted at all and, if anything we're just really psyched to see other brewers play outside the Reinheitsgebot lines."

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,279.74 +13.75 0.08%
S&P 500 2,010.40 -0.96 -0.05%
NASDAQ 4,579.7890 -13.6380 -0.30%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs