White Oak Wheat Beer is the latest Innis & Gunn brew to arrive in South Africa. The I&G website describes it as a “German-style wheat beer”, but with additions of blood orange and bergamot (Googled it so you don’t have to – it’s a citrus fruit), to me this really has much more in common with a witbier. It’s a beauty to behold – a bright, luminescent golden hue with just a touch of haze. As you would expect from an Innis & Gunn beer, there are woody aromas to be found here, but unlike some of their other brews, the wood – mostly manifesting as vanilla – is a background actor. It’s the orangey additions that take the spotlight, offering a zesty aroma that smells like summer.
It’s a complex beer, with layers of citrus, a touch of breadiness and that signature oak taking a supporting role. White Oak finishes fairly sweet, but it’s still refreshing – in fact it’s perhaps the most refreshing of the I&G brews I’ve tasted so far. Don’t get too carried away though – although it doesn’t taste too strong, White Oak weighs in at 6.3% ABV. It’s a superlative food beer – try something light but spicy like a Thai-inspired chicken dish or Cajun-dusted calamari. I think this might just be my new favourite in the Innis & Gunn range.