Beer Review 0081: New Belgium Mothership Wit

I’ll preface this review with the bad news: If you like this beer, or this sounds like a beer you might like, you’re probably out of luck. Mothership Wit, New Belgium Brewing’s first USDA certified organic beer, is no longer being produced. That’s not saying it won’t ever be made again, but Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium have placed it on hiatus.

I happened to spot a six pack of this beer in the grocery store recently, so I thought I would snap it up and review it before it disappeared completely.

New Belgium Brewing fired up in 1991, after Jeff Lebesch biked through Europe on a quest for good beer. He left the country inspired, wanting to brew his own beer. So he did.

Today, New Belgium is one of the largest craft breweries, and they have quite a conscience, too: Theirs is the first brewery to be powered by wind, and once an employee has been with the company for one year, they are awarded an ownership stake. Solid principles.

Mothership Wit is part of the New Belgium “Explorer Series,” of which I am not totally sure of the meaning. This beer is a Wheat Beer, and is brewed with wheat malt. It is also spiced with orange peel, lemon peel, and coriander.

The pour made for a small head that was frothy and quickly dissipating. The color of the beer was shocking — sort of a nuclear neon yellow with a tint of green. Man, it’s ugly — and check out what happened after I poured:

As you can see, there is yeast in the bottle. In fact, there are directions on the side of the bottle that tell you how to pour this beer, and clearly I didn’t follow them. Oops. So, after getting everything out of the bottle, I stirred it with a spoon, and ended up with this:

The beer has a cloudy body with very small particles of sediment throughout. Does that help matters any? No. This beer is visually unappealing, and I have never seen a beer with a color like that. Hell, macro lager looks more appealing than this!

The aromas are just as described on the bottle. There’s a heavy amount of lemon, orange, and coriander. The lemon and orange isn’t because of any hops used, it’s just peel from the actual fruits. The wheat comes through as well in the form of a grainy scent that makes a backbone for the spices. As the beer warmed, I noticed a salty pickle jar note. Mothership is quite fragrant, and the scent isn’t half bad.

On the palate, there’s loads of citrus up front, and the coriander. The middle part of the taste is grainy and wheaty, and it finishes with slightly bitter orange and coriander, with a yeasty note. The mouthfeel is thin and crisp, slightly watery.

I could see this beer being very refreshing on a hot summer day, and really, the flavors aren’t all that bad. But there is nothing special here, and the fact that Mothership Wit will be going on hiatus might be a good thing to make room for something much more complexly flavored— and visually appealing — in the New Belgium lineup.

New Belgium Mothership Wit, 71 points. Price: $8.99 US for a six pack.

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