Sunshine Wheat Beer | New Belgium Brewing

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Sunshine Wheat BeerSunshine Wheat Beer

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States | website

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
IBU - 14
Hops - Target
Malts - Pale, Carapils, Wheat
OG - 13.4
Fruits/Spice - Orange Peel, Coriander

Added by kbub6f on 04-28-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 363 | Ratings: 861
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Slightly cloudy golden hue with a rather thin white head but it does leave behind thin strips of lacing between each sip. Aroma: Coriander blended with wheat bread sweetness some definite orange peel evident as well, a bit tame but nice and balanced. Taste: Incredibly refreshing with the smack your lips together sharp sweetness blended with the spices makes me happy a very refreshing tasty version of this style. Mouthfeel: Lighter bodied strong carbonation blends well in the mouth has a nice texture going down adding to the drinkability. Drinkability: Summer wheat that can be enjoyed year round in my opinion this is excellent so drinkable and tasty, I am a fan.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
2.69/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Presented in a 12oz brown bottle with a “best before” date of 01-28-04 on the label. Poured a clear light gold color with virtually no carbonation and a piteously tiny skim of white bubbles for a head. Add no lace and I started getting a bad feeling about this offering from New Belgium Brewing Co.
The smell was dominated by a citrus aroma like orange peels, with a grassy malt smell and some modest spice (mainly coriander) serving as background. The taste had a orange citrus tang that immediately hit the tongue as did a dusty malt flavor. The beer’s spicy aspect briefly put in an appearance mid-range before beating a hasty retreat, leaving a grainy malt residue of taste in the finish. The feel was light, rather dry, and crisp.
Question: where’d the yeast go? I don’t know except that it wasn’t in the bottom of the bottle. While Sunshine Wheat is drinkable (I didn’t dump it), it looks more like a pilsener minus the hops profile. This beer is almost macro-esque in stature, lacking any of the more robust aromas and flavors of other witbiers. Overall, a dull, boring beer that I have a hard time believing is designed “in the Belgian wheat beer tradition” as stated on the label.

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Photo of inebrius
4.07/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Mow the lawn, schmow the lawn! If this beer had some unpronounceable name and an "imported from Belgium" stamp on it, it would be rated at least a half-point higher.

Lemon frosted sugar cookie nose drifts above wan yellow wheat. Flavor is partially spice, hop, citrus and sweet malt, but all balanced. Charged and light through the pipes. A quality brew even if you live in an apartment.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.63/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a clear golden with little carbonation and a thin white head. Aroma is spicy hops with a touch of coriander and a definite orange scent. Taste is very clean with a light fruity flavor that is citrus with a further citrus flavor from the coriander. It is very clean and refreshing though a little weak on the spices. It has a creamy maltiness that is very appealing and gives this beer a smooth flavor. Drinkable on a sunny day when the lawnmower calls for a sacrifice.

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Photo of andyj
2.7/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was somewhat dissappointed with this beer because I have enjoyed many other Fat Tire beers within their line and I really feel they do a great job. In my opinion this one came off more as an American style wheat beer. It has a very nice unoffensive taste. A nice lemony-citrusy aroma and a mild spiciness. Compared to some other American Belgian-Wit beers, this one lacks the spiciness and flavor that is present in many other varieties like Allaghash or Victory. I would say this is more of an American Wheat/Belgian Wit hybrid. Drinkable, but not awe-inspiring.

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Photo of jtfest
4/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, light golden-yellow, with a small diminishing white head.

Smell: Subtle-sweet malt with little or no hop aroma.

Taste: Sweet, but not candy-like -- very rewarding and refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, sparkling with medium carbonation. A satisfying and substantial finish.

Drinkability: Very high. This goes down easy without sacrificing flavor or substance.

Comments: This is a very nice wheat and a great summer drink. I wish I had discovered it earlier in the season. A warm afternoon by the grill with a few of these would have been really nice!

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Photo of beerguy101
3.14/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light gold color, small foamy head. Aroma is grassy, grainy and sweet. Light bodied wheat. A lighter tasting, mild flavored wheat beer. Light malts and hops. Light and refreshing. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly malty.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.1/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I sampled this on draught at New Belgium's brewery in Fort Collins, CO.
Appearance: This brew has a pale straw color and is relatively clear. The other Wit's I've had are cloudy
Aroma: The nose has citrus and yeasty notes in it.
Flavor: this is a slightly crisp, hot weather beer. Definitely something you'd have after mowing the lawn

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Photo of kindestcut
3.56/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah, I agree with my fellow BA's that this beer isn't great but I wouldn't call it "boring." In fact, when I have a wheat beer, I'm truly not looking for the Moby Dick of beers. Usually, I'm looking to be refreshed. Wheat beers are a hot wather beer to me.

The New Belgium Wheat poured a pretty gold with abundent carbonation. I poured the beer into a traditional weizen glass and was able to pour a nice head.

The aroma was definite spiciness with hints of pepper, coriander and floral.

The taste was definitely different than a German hefe. The New Belgium Wheat lacked the dominant citrus fruit flavor. However, it is quite refreshing and thirst-quenching. I have take points off for ftaste, though, if only for its lightness.

I will definitely have this beer again. It is good, not great.

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Photo of alexgash
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I agree with some other reviews that the label "wheat" on this beer is a little misleading. I enjoyed this beer nonetheless. Pours a clear light yellow with lotsa bubbles and a big, white, marshmallowy head. I kinda wish that it was unfiltered though. Smell is tart, peppery, wheat and coriander. Spicy, peppery malts dominate the palate, followed by a yeastily-bitter, orange finish. Not great, and not my favorite New Belgium summer beer (see Loft and Porch Swing), but a nice refreshing brew.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.93/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Light yellow with a small head that quickly dissipates.

Smell – Almost no nose, but a faint fruit aroma if anything.

Taste – Light body with a fruity wheat flavor. Little to no hops and not a lot of depth to the malts. It finishes with a sweet, almost sour finish.

Mouthfeel – Light carbonation gives this beer a nice feel on the tongue.

Drinkability – Definitely a summer beer, and the bottle will have to be very cold to enjoy it.

Comments – This is a light, fruity type of beer. The “wheat” in the name is misleading as it conjures weitzen and hearty malts.

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Photo of KroMagnon
3.87/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this on July 11 2003, but it had a “best by” date of June 30 2003. The label is quite appealing with a folksy drawing of a wheat sheaf and sickle, with a background of hops curling around to form a frame. I had it in a brandy snifter type glass. The beer was slightly cloudy but not like a hefeweizen or witbier. It was a golden-yellow color, pale but not straw colored. The aroma features a slight spiciness note that is a little hard to place – vaguely floral, touched with something like faint coriander or mown hay (in a good way). The label says it is spiced with coriander and orange peel, but in this sample (on this day) I had a hard time picking out the orange peel; nevertheless the aroma was exotic and nice. The flavor was good, with not a lot of hoppiness or bitterness; rather, the main feature is a slight tartness (very slight) combined with some malty sweetness; I suspect the tartness is that hard to describe wheat flavor. Overall the brew is pretty light but tasty, definitely a good summertime treat. This beer is a little more lively and spicy than an “American wheat”, and perhaps stronger, but it is not as challenging as a Belgian Witbier or a Bavarian Weizenbier.

For the BJCP style "witbier", I'd give this beer maybe a 3.8 out of 5. As mentioned above I don't think this quite fits into witbier area although I'm not sure exactly where I'd put it. It wasn't dry enough and wasn't quite as tart or spicy as I'd have liked.

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Photo of Zraly
3.65/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pale, fizzy-yellow pour. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a pleasant sight for a hot summer day. There was very little head or cling, but the carbonation of this beer was on the money. This added to a crisp mouthfeel.

The scent is of cinnamon and clove, but it is rather faint. The flavors are of orange peel and a hint of sugary fruit candy. The notion of wheat is there, but not dominant.

I would say that this offering from New Belgium is a good, "summertime" transition beer for folks who have yet to have a non-macro beer. It's a fairly "safe" brew that doesn't totally lack in flavor.

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Photo of cokes
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Golden with tiny grains of suspended sediment. Like sand in the tide. Plump white sea foam atop.
Tart and lemony aroma, with pricks of coriander.
Crisp and spicy up front, but seemingly dilute. Watery citrus peel and coriander notes mix with a wafer-like malt. Turns increasingly tart as lemon-rind flavors take control. Hopping (whatever there is) seems to accentuate the lemon impression.
Active, lively carbonation make this a good one to wash out the throat with on a steamy day. But all told, it is a middle of the road Wit.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.02/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok I had waited a while to try this offering from New belgium, but the price was right and it had been a hot sweaty day at work.
Comes in the usual New Belgium brown bottle..sheaf of wheat on the label.
Beer pours very nicelly certainly golden sunshine gold colour with a fair sized pure white head..that dissapeared fast but left some excellent lacing.
Very nice fresh aroma of doughy wheat and zesty coriander..nicely done.
MM nice first taste on the tongue is a refreshing sweet malt..followed by a rather thick wheaty taste then finished of with the cxoriander and zingy orange..very nice,.
Very good feel on the tongue well balanced beer.
Very drinkable beer indeed..despite the bad reviews I thouroughly enjoyed this.

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Photo of Realale
3.72/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy light orange. What little head there is dissipates quite quickly to a thin rim of foam.

Nose is intensely citric - lots of orange rind in this one. With time, a bit of grainy goodness comes through as well. Very appetizing nose.

A bit disappointing on the palate, as its out of balance towards the citrus notes. The malt and wheat eventually make an appearance, but they are definitely secondary. Its also quite short on the finish, but manages to have a thirst-quenching quality about it.

Its a not unpleasant exploration from the wit style, and might well be attractive to a potential convert from macros, and would certainly be welcome on a hot steamy St. Louis afternoon.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.36/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It poured a nice light golden yellow with very little foam. The smell was not impressive. The aroma had just a hint of perfume or what ever. The flavor was nice, but not really what I was looking for. It had an citrus/grainy flavor, but, with a very pleasant after taste. I could not taste any wheat in this beer. I think, if you make a wheat beer, it should have a wheat taste. Nothing here!

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Photo of MJR
3.2/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a pale gold with perfect clarity. The head doesn't even bother to's just a small ring of lace around the edge of the glass. The label states that equal portions of barley and wheat are used, yet this brew is perfectly clear. Hmmm... The lack of sediment is strange as well.

Smell: Faint and weak with a touch of wheat and a faint citrus note. Despite what the label says, I don't detect any coriander.

Taste: Thankfully, the taste is a little better than the appearance and smell. Not much better though... It tastes like a cross between a wit and a boring American-style wheat beer. Watery flavor with suggestions of wheat and citrus (lemon and orange peel.) I still don't pick up on coriander. Aftertaste of corn flakes...

Mouthfeel: Overcarbonated with a thin, watery mouthfeel. Finishes with a crisp dryness.

Drinkability: This is a subpar example of a Belgian wit. All of the traditional flavors are there, but in small quantities. Disappointing...

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Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bright yellow, fairly clear (not a lot of sediment) with a good white head and good carbonation. Spicy aroma ! Very nice balanced spice and citrus flavor. Medium bodied and smooth for the style.

An excellent American example of a Belgian Witbier !

Label states: "Equal portions of wheat and barley malts" & "Spiced with Coriander and Orange Peel"

Best Before: 04/02/02
Tasted: 04/15/03

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Photo of rastaman
3.3/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear pale yellow, little lasting head, but with some lace. Citrus and coriander in the aroma. Palate is sweetish, but a balanced sweetness, slightly spicy, and softly citric, tasty, but i had higher hopes for this beer, still, well balanced, refreshing, i liked it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.85/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a clear, pale yellow, with a small white head. Aroma spills over with lemon, straw, a hint of spice and sea-air. Palate is soft, lush, and smooth. But hops are tiny, malt is minimal. Very little in texture and body, and the taste, though good, fades swiftly.
The foam tastes good, though!
All the pleasure in this beer lie in the aroma, the smooth drinkability, and,um, that's it. It's easily downable, but largely forgettably, I'm afraid. It tastes, for a while, like a witbier, but lacks the complexity and texture I enjoy in better versions of that style, Why did they take the yeast out, I wonder? Would make a fine "lawnmower" beer, better in that regard than a Bud, but to really enjoy a beer, I'll turn to an unfiltered weizen or wit.
(Thanks to jeffboo for procuring the bottle)

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Photo of Quaffer
2.45/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: This was a golden and, oddly enough, crystal clear wheat beer. I swirled the last inch or so of beer to get the sediment out, only to discover that there was no sediment. A white head rose up to one finger and dissipated quickly. A thin ring around the beer was the only thing left after a few minutes. There was little to no lacing.

Smell: It was slightly grainy, with a strong sour odor. There was a hint of citrus, but it was very weak. There was also some corn in the background.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied and surprisingly smooth. Almost silky at times.

Taste: In terms of flavor, this brew had almost no wheat qualities. It reminded me of an American lager. There was some chewy grains up front. Those and a mild sweetness lingered for awhile, but that was it.

This was a very disappointing beer from New Belgium. I am a fan of many of their brews, but I will have to pass on this one in the future. If I hadn't poured the beer myself, I would have never known it was a wheat.

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Photo of marburg
3.55/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This was a little anemic as far as witbiers and other wheat ales are concerned. It lacked the aggressive over-hopping of most American wheat beers, and it certainly lacked the nearly excessively citrus aroma and flavor of the originals.

That said, I think this brew to be a prime example of a solid conversion beer. It's very light with just enough citrus flavor to intrigue any macro drinker, but that same light-bodied, light-flavor nature makes it as easy to consume as any served-sub-zero-in-a-frosted-mug macro swill.

Exceptionally light in color but not quite the pre-rain-storm haze of a traditional wit. Very light floral aroma -- like over-refrigerated carnations, perhaps -- with a citrus purfume only slightly greater in concentration. I just expect my witbiers to be bursting a bit more. Celis, Wittekerke, and Hoegaarden, in my mind, are prime examples of this characteristic. Taste is much the same. It's there but not in great abundance. Pretty straight forward as I think a lot of the better witbiers are, but just not enough of it. Subtly citrusy, really.

Very light-bodied. Consequently, it's like drinking water. These go down fast and easy. Nothing challenging about this brew -- which is oftentimes a good thing. I'd have it again though perhaps not purchase it -- and I'd definitely use it with friends not yet enlightened.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.27/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Acquired this pleasant Witbier via trade. Sure it has a summer look and feel to it, but it sure hit the spot after shoveling snow! Pours a clear gold color with a thin white head and mild effervescence. Very little lacing. Aroma is lightly hopped with a little citrus and vanilla. Flavor is smooth, and consists of hops, citrus and a touch of honey. Not as yeasty as some Wits, which was a nice change. Finish is thin but most Wits seem that way to me. Low on the complexity scale but good for what it is.

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Photo of hyuga
4.01/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is strange, no yeast sediment? No haziness? That's odd for this style. It must be filtered. Not much of a head in the beginning, and it doesn't stay all that well. Major appearance points off for these things. However, there is hope. Big and spicy aroma here, a very enjoyable one too. Coriander and wheat/grain hit you in a big way. A little bubble gum is noticeable too. As for the flavor, it's very tasty, more full-flavored than many other Belgian wits. The wheat/graininess and coriander again play a large role, but further complexities exist here, such as orange peel and small, but definitely noticeable, hop bitterness. Sweetness is more noticeable on the tongue in certain areas than in others. Overall, a bit off for the style (which according to the bottle is Belgian-style wheat/wit), but very tasty and enjoyable. Much better than I remember it being the last time I had it.

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Sunshine Wheat Beer from New Belgium Brewing
79 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.