A really, really good wit.
I will be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of witbiers. [ed note: see the post script below for a fun turn of events] There's, maybe, a handful that I don't find too bad, but as a general rule, I'm not really that big on them. The spicing - cloves, orange, orange peel, coriander, cumin - are often overbearing. If it's not sufficiently attenuated, the body is syrupy. The yeast (and modern American tastes) can make it overly lemony.
To my mind, Great Lakes Holy Moses is one of them that I'm just not a fan of. Yes, some people like it, but I'm not among them. Blue Moon. Bells Winter Wheat. Not a fan. I prefer Wits like Jolly Pumpkin's Calabaza Blanca, Wittekerke, (both wonderfully, but not overbearingly, lemony) and Allagash White (I love the spicing there).
But Brewmaster Scott has done a wonderful job on the new witbier. Scott uses fresh Indian coriander (I was assured freshness makes all the difference in the world - it is less musty and more peppery-grass-like), and subtle orange, and a secret ingredient that adds a little oomph to the body and slight, hop-like oiliness (ok, I'll spoil the secret: chamomile), the beer is flavorful and refreshing.
ps. while doing some research I discovered that I actually posted a review of Holy Moses on one of the popular beer review sites! On September 29, 2006, almost a full year before I ever even thought of starting MBR. Let's see what the nascent beer geek has to say, shall we? Drumroll please:
Originally from Cleveland, this is one of the few Great Lakes beers I haven't had yet. Given the general high quality, and my general fondness for witbiers, I was excited to give this a try.Complimentary olfactory highlight? Oh, to take that one back. But there it is.
As it pours it is blanch white, and becomes a beautiful golden ale with large dense white head. Even as it pours you can smell the citrus and coriander and malt, and if you let it set for a minute, the maltiness really comes to the front and the orange is a complimentary olfactory highlight. The taste is bright and oddly reminiscent of a brisk fall afternoon of football. There is some carbonation, but it dissipates quickly and the taste left is somewhat bread-like, syrup-y and sweet, but strangely unfulfilling because the coriander leaves a bit too much spice behind.
Overall a supremely drinkable beer. It compares favorably with the Leinie's Sunset Wheat but with a bit more pepper and spice.
MBR Reviews of Wittekerke and more on Holy Moses, Ommegang Witte, and Victory Whirlwind makes me wonder when I started to dislike wits so much. I clearly liked them for at least the year between September 29, 2006 and August 29, 2007. Weird.