Optimal Wit | Port City Brewing

very good
71 Reviews
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Optimal WitOptimal Wit

Brewed by:
Port City Brewing
Virginia, United States

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Thorpe429 on 02-04-2011

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Reviews: 71 | Ratings: 366
Photo of tlazaroff
4.54/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy light golden straw color topped with a white head.

S: Bursting with Coriander backed by light orange peel, very similar to the Celis White. It is the perfect smell for a Wit beer if you ask me.

T: This is an amazing wit! As the smell is just like Celis White, the taste is too! Packed with a punch of coriander, orange peel, a nice earthiness, and malty goodness.

M: Medium bodied, a bit heavy on the carbonation, and bottle conditioned. Flavor lasts a while on the palate.

D: Moderately high. Delicious beer, the best they brew.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the brewery.

Pours a hazy light golden color with snow-white frothy head. Looks spot on for a Wit with the classic unfiltered appearance.

Smell is good strength for a 5% beer with spicy yeast phenolics and bready malt body. The additions of orange peel, coriander, and grains of paradise are apparent but not dominating.

The taste is really outstanding actually. Muted bready malted body up front with slight sweetness puts you at ease, but then a sudden attack of spicy tartness and slight bitterness bring this beer to a bone dry finish that is very satisfying and refreshing. This is one of those beers where you NEED another sip, after each sip. It is really inviting and well balanced with a spectacular finish.

Mouthfeel is nice with a lighter medium body and medium carbonation. Possibly more carbonation would be right for the style.

Drinkability is great. This beer will make Blue Moon drinkers realize what they are missing in a properly made Wit.

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Photo of Chaney
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one more times than I can count now: On tap at the brewery, growler fills, many, many bottles, and I'm just getting around to reviewing it.

This one has the added benefit of being a brew that my normally beer-hated wife will drink with me. She loves this stuff!

A: Beautiful, milky peach/lemon color, with a massive tighly woven 1-2 finger head after a very hard pour that resembled a nito-tap pour.

S: Hell Mr. and Mrs. white pepper and coriander! The spices actually buried the fruit somewhat on the nose, but I still got a slim smattering of citrus.

T: Despite the spice on the nose, I got a lot of fruit and candy sugar on the mid-palate that resembled a pixie stick dust based concoction. Peppery finish.

M: Creamy, and without even a trace of booze. The sweet elements were very disciplined and the spice content... well, they are extreme, yet justified.

O: I friggin' love this beer! A lot of people go nuts over their porter (which is also good), but to me, this is their crowning acheivement... so far.

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Photo of mralphabet
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Poured 2/3 bottle....clear yellow with a touch of orange... swirled last 1/3 and poured... now we are a murky light orange with a about a fingers worth of fluffy head that settles to a nice ring with minimal lacing.

S: Smells great, like a great Wit.... Lots of coriander, orange peels, spices, yeast, and wheat. Everything you want...

T: Wheat is right up front with a good touch of orange zest, peels, spices, coriander, and yeast. Finish is clean, crisp with very little aftertaste. Right on top of the style for me...

M: Mid to light bodied with a moderate carbonation. Very smooth feel... good body, very easy to drink.

D: Good ABV, great taste.... Good combo... This is currently my favorite Wit.. Everything fits the style to a tee... Very very drinkable Wit. Seek this one out... Worth a try.

Side note: This is a very young brewery... Give these guys a try...

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Photo of localone703
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a great wit beer, it's everything a good wit beer should be - light and refreshing, but with a bit of body balancing good proportions of spice that identify themselves without overwhelming.

I can see this going over far better as an overall seller than any of their other beers, and deservedly so.

I'd take this over an over-estimated Oberon any day, now they just have to try to convince the brand-image moron drinkers to do the same.

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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 flyingpig
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle as a gift brought home from Virginia:
Hazy, light, golden colour with a thin, white head that consists of tonnes of tiny bubbles and stays well for a minute or so.

Spicy notes initially with some yeast and lemon coming through along with it. There is a strong smell of coriander that follows this and some bananas and orange peel.

Strong wheat and yeast flavours with some banana and clove to kick things off with. There is hints of coriander in the taste too along with a bit of citrus lemon and some orange zest.

Light medium with some spice and a citrus tang along with a relatively creamy and smooth taste, coupled with strong carbonation.

Miles better than I was expecting and I knew it was going to be a nice beer before I tried it. All the usual suspects are there for the style but they come together great and the beer is a cracker.

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Photo of seedyone
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Lovely pale blonde & hazy look. The aroma is vague but the citrus comes through. Crisp lemony flavor. Just the thing for 70F in March in NYC. Pefect texture with a lingering aftetaste that invites food.


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

Light hazy yellow color with a thin white head.

Aromas of coriander first, followed by a hint of orange peel.

This beer has a very good balance of malt and spice. I would have liked a little more of that lemony juiciness (little more orange peel?) I have found in others, but this one excelled in its moderate coriander profile - enough to always stay present and up front, but balanced off the pleasing light-yet-substantial malt character. It never got on the wrong side of tart and quenching (too soapy - Noxzema - or too tartly citric).

Light-to-medium body, and a clean quenching finish with more deftly handled spice. This is a consummately professional product - locals ought to shun other wit biers in favor of this one whenever they see it. But who's a die-hard born-n-raised local around here? Too many mid-westerner post-college transplants will stick to their Oberon, when this is clearly superior. Oh well, their loss, college don't teach much I reckon.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pouring into a pilsner glass, light pale straw. Becomes pale golden with addition of yeast sediment. Fine cream head, and very fine lacing.

S: Citrus zestiness, coriander spicing, and some grainy aromatics. Nothing overpowering.

M: Nicely balanced and refreshing from beginning to end. Smooth, creamy and finely carbonated. Could be a little snappier to start, but finishes with a perfect dryness fro the style accompanied by a subtle tartness.

T: Very grassy with pith appeal. Pear, some apricot, coriander, faint honeydew aspect make it only mildly sweet. Not the most adventurous, but very very solid. Its sessionability and refreshing quality is on-point.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: hazy; pale gold in color; 1 finger moussy white head that receded to a wispy cap; very little lacing;

S: coriander, lemon, and bready;

T: follows the nose; more coriander toward the end; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate to high carbonation; dry finish;

O: very nice flavor;

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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 00trayn
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a light, transparent golden color. White head about a finger-width tall faded pretty quickly. Has some minimal lacing.

S - Refreshing citrus scent with a hint of spices. Very pleasant and not overpowering.

T - An initially wheat flavor profile gives way to a taste of orange and banana. The finish has a spicy quality. It's incredibly refreshing in the warmer months.

M - Very smooth beer that's easy to drink and enjoy. Moderately carbonated.

O - This has become one of my favorite beers and there is usually a 6-pack in my fridge. It's a solid beer from a new brewery and I'm looking forward to what else they come up with.

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Photo of vabeerguy
4.01/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint glass (I have also had it on draft at many locations). Color is a cloudy golden yellow. An easy drinking, refreshing beer. This is one of my favorite Wit beers.

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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 BobbyBill
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fours straight across the board. This is a solid wit. I use this beer as a "gateway" to Craft Beer for newbies. Just enough coriander flavor to be true to style and excessively drinkable. Great VA Wit.

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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 kevinv
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle picked up from Rick's Wine & Gourmet. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a cloudy straw yellow color with about a one finger white bubbly head. Looks like your typical witbier. The head dissipates rather quickly and leaves little in the way of lacing.

S - The smell actually reminded me more of a Hefeweizen with the fairly prominent banana notes. There are nice aromas of orange peel and some spices. A light grassy hop presence becomes noticeable a bit more as the beer warms.

T - A strong bready yeast is the first thing I notice. Very light and refreshing flavors of wheat, orange, spices, bananas, and grassy hops. The finish is clean and dry.

M - Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation.

D - This is a flavorful easy drinker and one I'm looking forward to having again when the temperature finally warms up here in NoVA. Like I said earlier, this kind of reminds me of a Hefe.

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Photo of drizzam
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A cloudy light orange body is topped by a fluffy one finger head. Head retention is average and some spotty lacing is left down the inside of my glass. Looks like pretty much any other witbier I've had.

S - Wheat, citrus and coriander, with a slightly spicy note on the back end.

T & M - The wheat backbone is followed by nice accents of coriander, orange peel, and a nice little peppery twang toward the back end to give it a little spice. Light bodied with a clean, albeit slightly spicy finish. This is a very crisp brew.

D - A very enjoyable example of a Witbier. My first foray into the world of Port City Brewing, and so far I'm impressed.

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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 sholland119
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Blind BIF Round 4, Beer #4, blind growler. Took this one to our Monday night tasting group. Thanks to Thorpe429.

A-Cloudy, pale straw with a thin white head that does not last long.

S-Bubblegum and banana notes with some notes of lavender. Nice.

T-Nice wheat character, with banana and bubble gum notes, hints of flowery spice.

M-Light bodied, crisp, nicely dry, maybe a bit thin and a little watery.

D-Easy drinking and flavorful.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured chilled in tall pilsner glass

A: little carbonation; minimal head; clear, solid yellow
S: clove, yeast; inviting aroma
T: dry, spiced, medium hops; light on the Belgian side of things (e.g., bottle conditioning); not very intense flavor

Overall, a good solid beer, drawing sound inspiration from the Belgians.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at brewery:
Ok, far from the first time I've had this, but always before this in bottles.

Pours a hazy yellow, white a nice white head that could be a tad thicker initially, though sustaining head is thick at the edges and give a smattering of lacing.

Nose is a classic witbier, wheat with a little banana, with a bit of spice accenting the base. A little hint of lemon also gets in there.

Taste follows, with the wheat being an obvious taste early as the bass, while a light tartness plays the melody. Banana notes come as the two octaves come together to crest into a nice, light spiced (clove and pepper) ale. Lingering notes have a hint of yeast to them.

Pretty solid, but maybe a bit nuanced. Low rating for a GABF winning beer, even given my adjustments for style. I think maybe it's a bit more "mass appealing," but that doesn't hurt the beer really.

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

Pours a light gold with with white head that eventually fades.

The smell is a nice zest from the spices but is mostly of a fruity malt.

The taste is laid back for the style but I kind of like it about this one. The malt is the big player here as well as a slight hint of lemon. There is still a little hit of spices.

Overall a pretty decent Wit and am glad it produced locally. Win.

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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
3.8 out of 5 based on 366 ratings.
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