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Optimal Wit - Port City Brewing

Not Rated.
Optimal WitOptimal Wit

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

63 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 318
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 23.95%
Wants: 3
Gots: 77 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Port City Brewing
Virginia, United States | website

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: 63 | Hads: 318
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 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 Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchkey. Served in a tumbled.

Pour is a cloudy light orange color with a pretty decent amount of haze. White head with some pretty sticky lacing. Overall, a good start. Nose is creamy and full of rich wheat plus some orange zest, coriander, and slight spice. Nice and well-rounded without any taking the front.

Taste is equally as good as the nose. Very pleasant wheat base with a touch of spice along with some nice citrus character. The mouthfeel really takes it away. Light body is enhanced by a nice wheat base and there is a touch of spice throughou along with a nice orange presence. Fairly light carbonation carries it through. Drinkabiliy is really nice. This is quite quaffable even after a 15-minute walk through the cold.

Very glad to add the first beer for this place. It's a good feeling to finally have a local brewery that's actually in my town.

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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 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 mdfb79
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by the Port City tasting room on 02/05/11 and got to try this and their Pale Ale. Decided to pick a growler of this up for a Superbowl party. Reviewed from 02/06/11 notes. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

s - Pours a murky yellow color with one inch of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coriander, orange peels, spices, yeast, and wheat.

t - Tastes of wheat, orange zest and peels, spices, coriander, and wheat. A step up from the nose, very enjoyable.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy body, very easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a good, very drinkable witbier. Nice mouthfeel and I enjoyed the coriander and orange in the taste; not overpowering but enjoyable. I felt like I could have drank several glasses of this. Would certainly get again.

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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 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 billab914
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Founders pint glass. It poured a hazy, golden yellow color with a thin, bright white head covering the top of the beer.

The aroma has a bright, citrusy flavor to it with notes coriander and orange peel really coming out. I get a good amount of sweeter, bready, wheat malt flavors to it as well. Pretty nice for the style.

The taste also shows a lot of those brighter, orange peel and coriander citrusy flavors. The orange peel especially stands out to me. I get some bitterness to it in the finish that really helps balance it out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate, and perhaps a little below average for the style. Overall it's a pretty good beer of the style. The citrusy, orange peel and coriander were very nice and it was pretty balanced overall. A very nice new local beer option for a style we buy fairly frequently.

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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 woodychandler
4.06/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looking over past reviews, I see lotsa bottles and some drafts, but no CANs and that just makes me sad. 8=( Thankfully, I scored a CAN in DC during my latest foray to our nation's capitol. The CANQuest (tm) rolls on!

From the CAN: "The perfect blend of spice is found in Optimal (r) Wit. This Belgian-style witbier is crisp & citrusy with layers of flavor that evolve in the glass. It is brewed with Virginia wheat, Spanish orange peels & coriander. Grains of Paradise give a subtle, peppery finish."; "It taste like Sunshine & Happiness!"; "Elevating Craft Beer".

I Crack!ed open this 16-fl. oz tallboy and began an inverted Glug until the foaming action became too much & I had to back off. It settled into a finger of dense, bone-white head with great retention. Color was a very cloudy Straw-Yellow (SRM = > 2, < 4). Nose was very citrusy with the orange peels commingling with a lemony scent accentuated by a peppery spiciness. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, big for the style. The taste was spicy, but in a way that left it refreshing as opposed to overwhelming. The orange peels were more prevalent in the mouth, but I was still getting a lemony flavor and the black pepper of the coriander was like Baby Bear's everything - just right. Finish was semi-dry and highly refreshing. This would be perfect on a hot summer's day.

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Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a cloudy blonde with a two finger white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a light, pale and wheat malt scent along with an excellent citrus and coriander character. There is a bit of lemon zest that really enhances both the aroma and the taste. The taste is good as well. It has a quaffable pale and wheat malt flavor. It's crisp and refreshing with spot on spicing. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a very drinkable summer seasonal; a good representation of the style.

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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 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 tone77
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A big thanks to the legendary woodychandler for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a cloudy golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of citrus, spices, wheat. Taste is strong of oranges, some lemons, a bit of spice, a touch of tartness at the finish. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall a tasty and refreshing beer.

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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 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 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 BeerFMAndy
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip.
5% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for this brew (and sorry I've slacked majorly at getting the reviews up!)

A - A swirled bottle releases hazed pale straw yellow beer with a short-lived white head. Fingers of lace cling to the glass. It looks the part so far!

S - Intriguing aroma of mild Belgian yeast, coriander spice, a hint of orange peel citrus, and a clean, soft wheat finish. Inviting and refreshing.

T - Soft wheat and pale malt is strong in flavor with an underlying coriander spice. Minimal Belgian yeast components going on here though.

M - Soft and clean with a supple feel and smooth, light body. Refreshing finish!

O - Enjoyable and refreshing, this wit is a good American-brewed version of the classic Belgian style. Move over Blue Moon, I'll take this beer over you anytime.

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Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a cloudy straw with bit of white head.
S: It smelled like wild yeast and grassy hops and creamy wheat with coriander and orange zest.
T: It tasted like sweet creamy wheat and wild yeast with some coriander and orange zest. It had a mellow and clean sour aftertaste.
M: It was watery with some carbonation...a bit dull.
D: This was a very nice wit. Great scent and taste. Body was ok, but it was super easy to drink. Recommended.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Hazy golden

SMELL: Doughy, coriander, ripe plum, orange peel, earthy, floral, yeast

TASTE: Smooth, nutty, biscuity grain, yeast, coriander, mild bitterness, peppery, orange pith, faint saltiness, ripe fruit, spicy, grainy finish

Brewed to style with all the right bells and whistles going off, meaning that it does not taste like you have walked down the soap aisle in a department store. The use of grains of paradise adds that needed depth that most American brewed Witbiers lack.

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Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: opaquely cloudy golden color - typical wit, with a white head that shows average retention

s: clean, spicy wheat body, full bready yeast presence, nice balance of orange and coriander in "just right" proportions, grassy hops

m: lively carbonation - just over moderate, an otherwise light body carries a fullness on the back of the tongue imparted by the oat addition

t: nice set of wit flavors - clean wheat body, lots of bready yeast, orange, subtle coriander, a little spicy, grassy hops, finishing dry and clean with a very mild bittering, hits all the right notes

d: drinks very well, clean with plenty of flavor and a refreshing finish

good first from this new local - look forward to what they'll put out in the future

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good local take on a witbier.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple light grey label with a radial design presided by the brewery identity and the name of the brew from a blue diamond, again not painful but pretty blah. Shows 5% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Lightly hazy straw pour, fair frothy head and retention, good surface memory, some touches of lacing...

S - Sweet wheat, bready notes, light spicy touch…

T - Nicely wheaty, all the notes of spice, coriander, orange peel...

M - Light/medium body with medium carbonation,

O - Fair flow, might make for a nice sessionish local wheat beer.

Notes: Having being recommended to try this one, I must confess that while not disappointed it is not something that I would necessarily proactively seek out. Style and soft sense for me really leave it on the realm of the casual encounter, maybe offering it socially in warm days or for light palates. Which having just said that, is not too bad an use for a good brew.

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Photo of KTCamm
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Pours yellow/golden with some darker tones. Light foaming. Wheaty smell, notes of citrus in the nose. Taste is a rich full wheat flavor with a light citrus lemon mouthfeel. Very smooth. Minor rind taste. Very good.

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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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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.