Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Breakfast Beer

I'm serious when I tell you this: Witbier might just be the perfect beer for breakfast.

Okay, this isn't about waking up on a Monday morning and slugging down a beer, this is about refreshment and effervescence and pairing with a fine weekend brunch, like a Bloody Mary or Mimosa.

I first experimented with beer and breakfast pairing a number of years ago on Mother's Day. Amanda and I planned a lovely breakfast for both our parents and I thought it would be fun to try pairing a light-bodied beer with the meal. I naturally thought of some kind of wheat beer, but couldn't decide between a German Hefeweizen of a Belgian Witbier. Both would provide the adequate refreshment factor and the spritzy effervescence that I was looking for, but the Witbier I had in mind had a lovely honeyish quality with notes of peppery spiciness. I chose the Witbier.

I have yet to find a more perfect beer for breakfast. The large portion of wheat that is used to brew a traditional Witbier lends a certain tartness to flavor and lightness to the body that makes it an ideal pairing. The spiciness of the Belgian yeast along with the traditional inclusion of coriander play well with peppery bacon or sausage and the hint of orange peel in the flavor of the beer is a natural substitute for the more temperate orange juice.

One of my favorite versions comes from the Brouwerji St. Bernardus in Watou, Belgium. Emblazoned with the name of the Godfather of Belgian Witbier, Pierre Celis, St. Bernardus Witbier is yeasty and bready with a gentle blend of spice, sweetness and citrus. Thirst-quenchingly drinkable with a palate-scrubbing effervescence, St. Bernardus Witbier would certainly be at the top of my breakfast beer list.

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