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Optimal Wit - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.
Optimal WitOptimal Wit

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

61 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 304
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 23.68%
Wants: 3
Gots: 70 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Port City Brewing visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Witbier |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Thorpe429 on 02-04-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Optimal Wit Alström Bros
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 304
Photo of KajII
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

[Suggested Glassware: Weizen Glass]

The pour was a cloudy medium yellow with a large (2-3 finger) white fizzy head that receded at a rather quick steady pace, and produced poor spotty lacing.

The aroma was mild of a light grain malt and a musty Belgian yeast with notes of citrus (orange), coriander and a hint of pepper.

The taste was lightly sweet and citrusy from the beginning, then progressed with a light spicy and mild funky yeast taste and a slight peppery ending. The flavor lasted an average duration after consumption, with a spicy yeast taste fading slowing into the background.

Mouthfeel was light in body and watery in texture with a carbonation that was just beyond mild.

Overall this was a very mild Witbier, both in taste and body. Although, it would make a great session beer on one of those intensely hot summer days...


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Photo of Rifugium
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

First had: on tap at the brewery

Cloudy, pale, golden-colored liquid with a small cap of foamy white head that receded to a ringlet. Light aroma, toasted wheat, citrus zest, faint Belgian yeast. Taste of toasted grains, bready yeast, essence of orange blossom and light coriander, as would be expected of the style. Body was light, mouthfeel was thin, but there was nothing off or offensive, so it was pretty drinkable if you're a fan of the style, even if not the best there is out there.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Moab Brewery shaker pint.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, very pale yellow color. Has a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing. Typical witbier territory here.

Smell: Smells fruity and spicy with definite citrus and coriander notes.

Taste: Slightly bitter up front. Finishes sweet and fruity with a hint of spiciness.

Mouthfeel: A bit on the thin/flat side but still adequately refreshing.

Overall: This is a very average witbier, well-done but unexciting. I would be willing to give it another shot solely because, for me, it's a local brewery and I try to favor local establishments if I can.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Liquid is very light yellow color, but cloudy. No carbonation. Rather lackluster.

Smells like Blue Moon, honestly. Lots of sweet orange extract thrown in. I guess this one is heavy on the Curacao.

Taste feels slick and watered down. Very light on the yeast. Honestly feels like Blue Moon. So its not a terrible beer, but not all that great either.

Sits light, probably from the slick feeling. A bit like Hoegaarden, but more citrusy and less balanced.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Enjoyed at the brewery tap room in Alexandria, VA.

A: single finger head with nice lacing on a murky pale golden body.

S: very nice sweet lemon custard and orange peel with light west mustiness.

T: this one is a little watery throughout. Wheat, oats and breads are there in a thin fashion. The citrus provides more of a tart note. Corriander is strong in this one as well.

M: lighter side of medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this one is a little thin and light on flavor. Highly drinkable but disappointing

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Photo of mactrail
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Celery is the surprise flavor. Very vegetal with lettuce and a hunt of radish sprouts, or is there actually some pepper in this? Quite tart with little hint of malt. Very nice mouthfeel-- well carbonated with a silky sense.

Might be a good quaff. I don't care for it as much as other Wits I've tasted. Less beery and more acidic than I like.

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.42/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color and cloudy, this Belgian white ale has a nose that is mild, with scents of citrus, clove, and bread. The head of foam is moderate at first, but falls apart in a short time.

This ale offers flavors of wheat, pale malt, clove, light spice, yeast, and grains. The body is medium to light and there is a certain mineral- like quality that shows up part- way through. It isn’t bad, but it is different from other beers of this syle. The finish is a little lighter that I prefer and a tad watery, but still okay.

Port City’s Optimal Wit is a nice, easy- drinking and acceptable wheat beer. I don’t find it anything incredible, but it is a good effort from Port City and it does seem like a good beer to serve as a summer refresher.

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Photo of Todd
3.44/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

LOOK: Dirty blonde, cloudy, near opaque, foamy white head that fizzes away

SMELL: Powdery, floral, citric rinds, perfumey, yeast, grain husks

TASTE: Firm, oaty fullness and flavor, wheat, citric snap, orange peel, sweet bready grains, coriander, yeasty, earthy, dry floury finish

A bit heavier and darker than most traditional Witbiers, and it's missing that crisp, dry and effervescent edge that I've come to expect. Whatever percentage of oats they used seems to overpower a bit too much as well; lending too much flavor and body. Still, not bad.

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Photo of MaddestHatter
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the attached bar to a concert venue where I had just seen a folk metal show. I was easily one of the least drunk people there and wished to change that, but beers were expensive. The idea of a Belgian white ale though was appealing and the fact that the brewery is local was also intriguing. These coupled with the fact that I hadn't had anything to drink in the past several hours of singing, shouting, and dancing besides the bit of whiskey that I "pre-gamed" with were more than enough to coax the 7 bucks from me. The taste did not make me regret the decision as it was exactly what I could have hoped for. It had a nicely medium amount of body and a good bit of carbonation, though not a huge amount. Altogether it was crisply flavorful and refreshing. I would happily buy a six pack someday or order it on tap if given the chance.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Mike, served in a Russian River wine glass. Beer is white with a thin white head and a lot of haze. Moderate to low carbonation, a little lacing.

Smells like wheat, mild esters from the yeast, no spice.

Beer is thin and watery with a grainy finish, it's not bad, just OK. The beer is mildly sweet with little to no flavor in the midpalate but the finish is just a little dry. Overall it's just OK.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruge hybrid glass on 8/16/11
*From notes

A: Cloudy and sandy beach white-amber. A one finger head and moderate lacing are the product of a decent pour.

S: Cloves and bananas. It's got the characteristics you look for in the wit style.

T: Again, a generous helping of ripe banana. Hints of orange and a dusting of spice add a complexity to this low ABV brew. The finish is rather yeasty.

M: Pretty damn creamy. It's packs the proper punch.

O: Port City's Optimal Wit is a solid little offering. It's exactly what I think of when I think "Witbier", and if you're a fan of the style, you could drink this all day. As someone who is not, I'd still put a couple of these back.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, buck nidynine from the Village Pump. They were all out of Nugget Nectar, so I grabbed a couple of ticks instead.

An incredibly hazy (in a nice way) yellow with a dense, white head, choppy and bubbly, that recedes to a disk leaving little lacing. The nose has a ton of wheat with a nice, yeasty, bready character. Spice character here is moderate, with a nice blend of coriander (almost makes me think of cilantro) along with some orange peel. Quite refreshing.

The palate is pretty decent too. Plenty of wheat and grain up front, with a pretty quenching and refreshing carbonic acid bite, this is quite nice. The spice character is actually really nice, with a delicate coriander and even some grains of paradise, delicate and mellow. The water, though, seems a touch heavy on the mineral content, causing the flavors to dissipate and the mid-palate seem watery. Light on the body with crisp carbonation, this is quite refreshing, and quite enjoyable. Not the best wit, but among the better domestic versions I've had.

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Photo of devilben02
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

While visiting family in the NoVa area, my Coors-Light-loving cousin offered this one to me as an alternative to the light lagers he normally keeps stocked. It pours a pale, lemony hay color with only a thin, wispy white head. The aroma has a subtle musty, yeasty character as expected for the style. The flavor is lightly fruity, with a faint banana character, which is contrasted by an earthy yeastiness. The texture is fizzy and light, which is fine with the light flavor profile but unexciting. Overall, this beer is light and pleasant, yet nicely flavored, making it a solid albeit unremarkable witbier.

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Photo of Cresant
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 12 oz. into a footed tulip glass. No date. This one was a gift, I would never have purchased this one on my own due to this not being a favorite style. The body was clear, with a bright yellowy-gold color. The bright white head dissipated quickly.

The smell was cloves and fresh grain.

The taste was white peppercorns and spicy yeast. There was a snap of wheat. Crisp tartness was so refreshing and tasty! I enjoyed this one much more than I had anticipated.

The mouthfeel was medium to light in density. Adequate carbonation. Easy to drink and quite nice.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a hazed golden orange color with a short bubbly white head.

S:Some wheat and fresh apricots up front then some coriander and other mild spices, maybe ginger. Some citrusy hops give a strong note.

T: Citrus, apricot and fresh grains provide a solid start. Coriander comes through and maybe a bit of ginger and they are in good quantity not overdone.

M: Lightly crisp light body and fairly smooth drinking.

O: Solid American wit and certainly not a lot of flaws so it is worth a try.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer appears a cloudy, straw yellow hue with a thick, dense white head. The head displays noticeable staying power, gradually fading to about a quarter inch and leaving some decent lacing on the glass.

The aroma seems a bit out of character for a witbier. It smells much more like a hefeweizen, with a prominent scent of banana and clove.

The taste is decent, but with much more banana than I would prefer from a witbier. Also, the spices, especially coriander, are muted and could be brought out more. The beer is slightly grainy / bready, with a slightly low carbonation level.

I'd be interested to try this again, as I was a bit underwhelmed this first time around, especially based on the initial reviews from a few friends.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear straw color with a reasonably impressive head that displays decent retention and leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Bready, with orange peel, grains of paradise and coriander tones

Taste: Bready, up front, but the pithy , grains of paradise and coriander flavors quickly jump forward; after the swallow, there is a hint of sweet malt that adds to the profile

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Overall: I would prefer this to be a bit drier but it is a fairly decent stab at the style

Thanks, smokeypeat, for the opportunity

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Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow w/ minimal head and no lace but you can see constant carbonation. Aroma is rather mild, almost airy. I do get some of spice and citric/lemoz zest, and some floral and bready notes but not alot. Light, easy to drink, almost lawnmowerish beer, the sweetness is there for a wit and I like the smoothness but the lack of defines flavors - there's a crisp, lemony/spicey finish but the body of the beer is just a little bit of citric/spice/malts. Just enough going on to be a truly great wit.

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Photo of Godot
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Belgian Wits are not my go to style but this beer is definitely a nice option for summer drinking. Pours a hazy yellow with a big clunky white head. Smell is of orange peel and grains of paradise. The taste is refreshing and well spiced (read not overly spiced). It has a dryer finish than say Hoegaarden, but that is kind of nice. My wife, who is more of a witbier drinker, enjoyed this one thoroughly and I am sure it will be going into her rotation. As for me, I would never turn it down. Definitely a nice and refreshing offering from Port City.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, courtesy of Mike, straight from the brewery. Bleak and boring label...

A: Hazy pale yellow, fizzy almost non existent white head, unless you pour quite vigorously.

S: Quite muted, though some notes of clove, spice and orange peel come through. Subtle notes of coriander and banana in the back end.

T: Very refreshing and light. Lemon, orange, mango and some clove spice. Nothing is dominant or over done - all flavors are blended quite well with each other. Finishes leaves a bit of dryness that I wish wasn't there.

M: Low end of being a medium-bodied beer, nice ample carbonation.

An extremely easy drinking Witbier, for sure. There isn't too much going on here in terms of flavors in both the nose and taste, but there's enough to be refreshing and tasty. Sure there are better Witbiers out there but a really good first attempt from a new brewery.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Off the pour gives a small but marginally sized white heat of two and a half fingers. Body is a slightly opaque lemon gold, looking very much like a Hoegarden only a little deeper.

Bouquet is minimal muted wheat and yeast, faint grain sense. Some small sense of clove spice but not much going on here. It is however pleasant, and solid, but not particularly engaging and big.

After all that you would expect a little disappointed but, luckily from there everything improves. Taste is solid and expansive but simple. Simple chew and spice clove, with a good body. Finish is deep and solid and coating.

This is a straightforward easy drinking example of this style, not much else to say about it, just wish it had a better bouquet.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a very bubbly white head that dissipates very quickly. The beer itself is a surprisingly clear hazy yellow with a bit of orange in it. The beer has a very simple orange and lemon smell with a bit of Belgian yeast and spice. The spice and yeast are very faint but still pretty decent. The taste is very similar to the beer smell with orange and Belgian notes. The orange is a bit light with the Belgian yeast and spices. The taste also has some coriander notes that get a bit lost but occasionally surface. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly carbonated with biting carbonation. Overall, the beer is fairly decent. The brewery can certainly improve upon it but it's still drinkable and worth getting on a hot day.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Dan for this one.

A – Poor head retention and lace. Pale banana yellow color.

S – Yeast, banana, sour apple lemon, and a hint of sourdough bread. Touch of earthy coriander and green peppercorns in there as well.

T – Not bad at all. The beer has a honey-like sweetness and a bright, juicy center of apple, coriander, peppercorn, banana, and pear. The finish is semi-tart with white grape skins.

M – Well balanced acidity. Medium body, but sub-par carbonation for the style. Light, but lingering finish.

O – Refreshing with a pleasant complexity.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy gelatin yellow. Bright and with white brimming of head. Denser due to a wider glass.

Aromas are mild and wheaty with a light citrus cling. Notes of dry spice, lemon, and nut flesh. Good.

Simple and summery. Wheat and white bread maltiness with a hint of lemon and coriander. Grains of paradise is in here, too. Has some spiciness. Still on the side of nutty. Hops are quiet, but offer a tinge of herbs. Very faint and dull smoke.

A sturdy witte with richness. Almost eggy. Middle carb features in the feel. Quenching.

Decent witbier. Simple and solid. Doesn't stray too far from what it is.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso, served in a tulip glass - Old Town, Alexandria, VA (3/2011):

The appeared a bright, hazy, light golden color with a nice white, foamy head that was well-retained and settled into a spotty cap and some nice lacing. The beer looked as expected for the style.

The beer gave off the typical wheat-ish aroma, with hints of yeast/bread, orange and some other spices. The aroma was good, not overpowering, but solid.

The taste of the beer was good, followed the nose really well. The yeast/bread/barley was the first thing that was tasted, followed by a nice hint of the spices. The only problem that I had with the beer is that it got a little watered down at the end. I have never experienced that before, so I am not really sure what to think of it.

The beer had a light feel to it. The beer was very smooth and clean, good carbonation and easy to drink.

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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.