My wife has never been at the forefront of good beer – except where Hoegaarden is concerned. When we met, I knew next to nothing about good beer. How little did I know? Well, I figured Toohey’s Extra Dry was an okay drink. So you get the picture, yeah?
Well, the wife drank TED too but, from time to time, she’d mention this ‘‘white beer’’ called Hoegaarden. Being a beer neophyte I’d never heard of it and actually pictured a glass of beer as white as a Milky Bar – and probably tasting the same.
But my wife, she had some good taste, because Hoegaarden is a great beer. And there’s also a great story behind it, as the weighty tome OCB says. The Garrett Oliver edited book says Hoegaarden (actually pronounced ‘‘who garden’’ – never knew that) was brought back from the dead by a milkman.
That would be Pierre Celis, who had previously worked at Tomsin, the last white beer brewery in the small Belgian town of Hoegaarden. When that brewery shut down he thought it such a tragedy that he went and bought some brewing gear and started making that beer.
He named it after his home town and the beer went on to become the benchmark for the Belgian white style.
What’s the go here?: For those who have just stumbled across this post, I’m going through the Oxford Companion to Beer (OCB) and posting an entry for every letter. Why? Because I have a copy at home but hadn’t really gone through it page by page and I figured this would be an exercise that would force me to do that.