The Witty Traveller
Railway City Brewing Company

The Witty TravellerThe Witty Traveller
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Wheat Beer - Witbier
Ranked #580
Ranked #43,823
3.49 | pDev: 14.61%
Railway City Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada
The Witty TravellerThe Witty Traveller
Notes: The Witty Traveller has finally arrived! In his trunk, the distinguished beer flavours of the world. With a top-hat in hand he's stopped in Railway City to share his knowledge and adventure. With spices from the East, the fruits of the South, and yeasts of the North enveloped in taste and aromas of far flung places.

The Witty Traveller’s tale opens with a potpourri of spices and fruit – sweet anise seed and subtle orange rind. As you delve deeper into the libation you discover clove and bananas alongside soft and sweet arrowroot biscuit. This is followed by a short layover of bubblegum before cleansing fresh pepper and gingersnap. With spices from the east, fruits of the south, and yeasts of the north, The Witty Traveller envelopes tastes and aromas of far flung places.
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 53 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of swim
swim from Canada

3.16/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Semi opaque, slightly hazy, honey yellow, with some bubbly off white head.

S: Not the most appealing smell, has a bit of a funky off quality (likely the white pepper which alone tends to smell and tastes like actual crap) to it but it's growing on me. There is a bit of a lemony citrus to it which is likely the coriander. I'm not detecting the orange here.

T: Similar initial weirdness here (this is my first witbier) but not bad. Definitely getting the pepperiness of the white pepper here. I'm also getting the warming spiced coriander citrusness but again no discernible orange peel flavours. Neither too strong or watery in flavour. This is quite good.

F: Rather low carbonation. Smooth but pretty thin and flat.

O: Interesting spiced beer flavour, very different from "regular beers". Could possibly use more of the orange peel flavour. My review is a bit useless because I haven't exactly tried any other witbiers to compare this to. I like this but I'm not in love with it. I am interested in trying other brewers offerings of this style.

May 25, 2017
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A - Impressive hazy golden body, with a pillowy white head, huge and fluffy. Fade is quick, lacing is all over the place.

S - Typical of a wit, with sour grain front, floral notes, a bit of honey, apple flesh, touch of funk.

T - Pretty one dimensional, with wheat and mild sweetness dominating, a bit of sourness in the open, cracker malt notes in the middle, and a bit of bitterness in the close.

M - Slightly gritty, light carbonation.

O - Looks great, smells and tastes decent, and feels kind of off. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about.

Sep 01, 2016
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bevvy1 from Canada

3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml can poured into a cold glass.

Appearance is cloudy and pale yellow... tastes like it looks almost lemony, getting lots of pepper on the tongue as well, carbonation is high.

Overall, refreshing and fairly standard. Smell and taste could be more complex.

Aug 11, 2016
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al_al1357 from Canada

3.18/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A cloudy yellow in colour. Not much on the nose other than some hints of Belgian yeast. Not much power in the taste and is definitely lighter than the average witbier with common notes of citrus and coriander blended together. Light bodied but good carbonation. Served in a can

Dec 26, 2015
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RQuigley from Canada

2.78/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy
S: Spicy
T:Bit of a strong aftertaste
M:Carb good - after taste
Oall: Not my kind of beer.
Notes: The Guy I was drinking with loved it and had several more.

Sep 03, 2015
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SSS from Canada

2.65/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

A-Very light yellow, non existent head
S-The aroma is of standard commercial beer, cardboard
M-Very light mouthfeel
T-No real flavour or taste to speak of, very bland and commercial...tastes like adjuncts.
O-Not for me, nothing special.

Aug 23, 2015
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headlessparrot from Canada

3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

An interesting beer, and quite unique in terms of witbiers that I've sampled: what really sets it apart is a strong odour of depilatory cream (though, weirdly, not in a bad way) and a very strong, very spicy peppery note on the taste. It's a note that makes the Witty Traveller a more compelling beer than it seems at first glance, but also tires your taste-buds out rather quickly (in other words, it's not particularly sessionable).

Jul 22, 2015
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Phyl21ca from Canada

1.54/5  rDev -55.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Can: Poured a light yellow color ale with a medium size white foamy head with limited retention and no lacing. Aroma of light grainy wheat malt with strong lemony notes which is not that enticing. Taste is a mix of light unrefined grainy wheat malt with a strong dose of lemon notes. Body is light with medium carbonation. This one ended up the drain. I thought it was quite far from what I expect of the style.

Jun 05, 2015
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TerryW from Canada

3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

Lots of grain/breadiness, some yeast. Slightly dry finish. Plenty of gentle fruit - a hint of lemon and passion fruit. Spicy. Odd but interesting. I get the sense it may take a couple of pints or more to wrap your head around it and get comfortable. An interesting effort.

Sep 18, 2014
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taxandbeerguy from Canada

3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473 ml can served fairly cool into glassware. Advertised as 4.2% ABV.

Appearance - light hazy mostly vibrant lemon pie filling in color with two fingers of white head. The head lingers for a short while before dissipating into a a thin foam on top. Trace lacing up and down the sides of the glass.

Smell - some light lemon aromatics and some trace amounts of Belgian yeasts. A dabble of coriander and some other spices.

Taste - fairly bready base, but quite light and some fruity sweetness shines through quite nicely transitioning to some pepper on the tip of my tongue. Fairly complicated and surprising given the fairly average aromatics. The pepper becomes a bit too much after repeated sips, dropping this score a bit.

Mouthfeel - spritzy feel with a light feel and slightly hot finish from the pepper.

Overall - a pretty good and light wit that has a bit of surprising heat. If you like the heat then I think this May move up the list, but nevertheless this is a tasty and refreshing brew.

Jul 31, 2014
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BeerWatcher from Canada

3.64/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light yellow, with almost zero head or lacing. Considerable carbonation. Aromas are strongly of white pepper, some Belgian yeast, and light fruit. Tastes are of cloves, bananas, and some coriander. Overall, no such thing as too much pepper for me and this is very light, refreshing and at only 4.2 abv extremely quaffable on a hot summer night.

Jul 30, 2014
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byronic from Canada

3.21/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a very light opaque yellow without any form of head. Smells quite nice with a definite presence of orange zest along with some lemon, wheat and spices. Unfortunately this is not backed by the taste in which the flavours blend together. There is a sweetness offset by the citrus, coriander and especially the pepper. Lively carbonation with a light body. Quite crisp to drink but coats the mouth in an unpleasant way. The finish is quite nice until the pepper takes over and lingers.

It smells much nicer than it tastes and the pepper lingers too long. Not something I would purchase again.

Jul 18, 2014
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biegaman from Canada

3.31/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

'Witty Traveler' is a pretty good pun for the style but this appearance doesn't quite look the part; it is far more golden and resplendent - lack of clarity notwithstanding - than is customary with Witbiers. The lack of head is also very out of character and, frankly, a little concerning.

The nose is also lacking; there should be more spicy coriander and zestful orange peel presence. It is redeemed, however, by the well-suited addition of white pepper which lends additional piquancy to an aroma that should be characteristically fragrant to begin with.

But again, we have too much cereal grain and not enough of the citrus or spice. The white pepper is still appreciated in the flavour but notes of oats, straw, and obnoxious banana esters vie with the orange peel and coriander for top spot on the tongue.

As result, the aftertaste is muddled with no clear winner; it's neither grainy nor zesty nor citrusy. Instead, it's just kind of blah. And while I don't feel language like that is fair to the brewer who, credit where credit is due, has crafted a readily approachable and easily enjoyed ale, the fact remains that this recipe doesn't anywhere near stack up with the style's best.

And at 4.2% alcohol and 15 IBUs, flavour is needed to compensate for a lean frame - this one just doesn't have it. It drinks kind of like a middling spiced pale ale, or, more accurately, especially as it warms, the growing notes of banana, clove and anise lead me to view this as more of a watered-down Hefeweizen than anything else.

Either way, I don't think the ale really knows what it is. The Witty Traveler requires some soul-searching before I consider buying it again. Or at least it needs to learn to speak up. Railway City make some very nice ales and this, I'm sorry to say, certainly isn't their best work.

Jul 16, 2014
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thehyperduck from Canada

3.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473 mL shrink-labelled can picked up at the LCBO; best before Oct. 18 2014. I had a sample of this at a beerfest last month and enjoyed it, but I figured a full serving was needed in order to give it a fair look. Served well-chilled.

Pours an opaque, foggy pale yellow colour, topped with one finger of dense, frothy head that fizzles away steadily over the next period of minutes. Some scattered lace remains suspended above the loose collar and film left behind at the surface. Zesty aroma; very appropriate for the style. Lots of orange citrus and wheaty malts, with some lemon juice and light coriander/pepper spice notes.

A nice, well-rounded wit. Pale malts with a mild, wheaty sweetness at first accompany the orange peel and lemony citrus notes that dominate much of the flavour profile. It becomes yeastier and spicier toward the finish, with spicy pepper and light coriander notes in the finish. The aftertaste has a nice, lingering peppery spice to it that helps distinguish this wit from the crowd. On the lighter side of medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation that causes the mouthfeel to come off a little slimy and less crisp than I'd prefer, particularly toward the end of the glass.

The Witty Traveller is a worthwhile wit to try this summer, with the addition of white peppercorns giving it a pleasantly spicy bite that is fairly unique within the style. I'll probably grab a few more cans this summer, assuming it remains in stock, and I'd certainly recommend this beer to others, as well. A passable wit from Railway City, though not without its flaws.

[Updated Mar 22 2016]

Another can, and I suspect it's a very fresh one (because the BB date is still 5 months out). Looks great - outstanding head retention, with a thick creamy cap remaining in place for more than 5 minutes. The white pepper really pops on the nose and on the back end of the flavour profile, contributing to this wit's unique character. Crisp, lively mouthfeel; very refreshing. I am more impressed this time around and in response I am bumping the score substantially. As far as Ontario-made wits go, fresh Witty Traveller is difficult to top.

Final Grade: 3.92, B+.

Jul 14, 2014
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DaveBar from Canada

4.06/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a challis.

A- Opens well and pours a high white head that dissipates to nothing within 1min. Unfiltered

S- Pretty good. Definitely smell the yeast and malt. Very little hops. Banana hints.

T- Nice Hoegaarden clone. Has a smoky hint to it. Less coriander then the aforementioned. Good gooseberry and lemon

M- Pretty good. Nice and light on the tongue.

O- Pretty good. Very nice white beer. Excellent for a Canadian effort that is for sure

Food Pairing

This nice little white beer went well with... BBQ hot dogs LOL


Jul 12, 2014
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jjmclell from Canada

3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Cloudy, pale straw yellow...looked about right. I don't recall any meaningful notes of aroma. Taste had a yeasty, doughy backdrop tempered with coriander and a slight peppercorn finish. Website talks about orange rind up front and on reflection I could see that. Not bad...would be good to try to Short's Brewing Company's Nice Spicie (Michigan)

Jul 09, 2014
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DrJay from Texas

3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy straw yellow, not much of a cap. Orange zest and coriander aroma with a bit of sour wheat in the background. More of the same in the flavour -- oranges and wheat, coriander, plus a sweet maltiness, mild bitterness, and peppery finish. Low carbonation, medium bodied, a bit heavy and not as lively as I would have expected. Overall, pretty good. I liked the balance of white pepper in the beer, always present but not overpowering.

Jul 05, 2014
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NV9 from Canada

4.01/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked this up at a Toronto area LCBO on the weekend and was very impressed.

Nice head on the pour, pretty good retention, unfiltered, not too oragne-y like so many of the more recent wheat beers have been.

The smell is strange, maybe too many competing flavours, left me a little unsure, but as soon as I tasted it, all the worries were gone.

Excellent flavour, lots of citrus and clove for sure but very smooth, nicely carbonated and a very nice pepper finish. Reminded me of a peppery Hoegaarden, but probably much better than that sounds. I'll be trying to track down more of these.

Jul 02, 2014
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spinrsx from Canada

3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Tall Can from the Ottawa LCBO for $3 or so. First time I've seen a shrink wrapped label on a can

Appearance - Gold colour with an average size fizzy/frothy white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes or so before it was gone.

Smell - Cloves, lemons, breads/grains

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste cloves and lemon juice/zest. There is also a honey sweetness and a bit of a yeastiness.

Overall - A decent brew. Perhaps a little heavy handed on the clove. The other flavours are nice though. Less clove and this would be a great summer refresher.

Jun 30, 2014
The Witty Traveller from Railway City Brewing Company
Beer rating: 80 out of 100 with 53 ratings