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: 367
Photo of Riff
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy yellow color with a white head that dissipated quickly. Smells of cloves, wheat, and lemon. Tastes of wheat and banana, with a light spicy flavor like cloves and white pepper. Lighter body beer with a dry, clean finish. Easy drinker with a nice flavor to it. Just about right for a nice summer day or early autumn weather.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Looks nice in the glass... straw colour. Opaque turbidity. Aroma of Spice, coriander and herbs. A little yeast Character.. typical for the style.

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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 Billolick
3.72/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tall can with brewed on dating (?) perhaps on the bottom - 6/01/16

Pours lightly hazed, dear dull golden, minor off white cap and leaving a delicate film, thin collar, and a few bit of fine lacing

Faint sniff of lime and perhaps some pepper

A bit better then middle of the road wit beer...some more lime, coriander and agian light pepper..decent but not striking me as anything very special....

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Photo of stevoj
2.98/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Draft at Yard House-Springfield. Light bodied wit (I know, right?). Pale, hazy golden with minimal head. Aroma also very faint, taste brings this into the zone, but just. Finishes flat, chalky mouth fell. Almost there....

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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 cyclonece09
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle. Pours slightly cloudy yellow orange with a small white head. Smells of Belgian yeast, wheat, and slight citrus. Tastes of wheat and citrus, nice balance but not overly sweet. Beer is light bodied good carbonation, easy drinking. Overall, a good beer.

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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 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 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 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 obywan59
3.81/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a pale, faintly golden yellow. Cloudy, but transparent. 1 finger white head that settles quickly leaving a but of shrinking lacing.

Coriander and clove in the forefront with a followup of banana.

Ditto in the taste, but the clove and banana seem seem to have stronger presence Tart wheat sets it all off.

Crisp and peppery. Moderate in body. Slightly astringent and slightly warming.

Well done in my opinion. It seems to hold to the style well. Quaffable and well balanced. I would try it again.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on draft at Dry 85

A-Pours hazy pale golden with small white head. Spotty lacing.

S-Orange/Coriander aroma, medium body, medium carbonation, and pretty good small bubble lacing.

T-Taste is coriander, orange, spice (mostly grains of paradise), some floral, some grassy, some lemon, with crisp finish.

M-Mouthfeel has a medium body, medium carbonation, and pretty good small bubble lacing.

O-The beer has a fair amount of complexity (especially for the style) and flavor, pretty enjoyable. Nice local beer.

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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 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 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.

 490 characters

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 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 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 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.

 609 characters

Photo of Onenote81
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark honey gold like lemonade. A small white head caps it off. Light lace left behind. The nose is tart with lemon, ginger, general spicy profile. Crisp body - refreshing. Moderate-to-high carbonation.

This is one of the more fruit-forward Wits I've had in awhile - pineapple is the main player, lemon, tart apple. Common Wit spices noted of coriander and a bit of ginger. This was a refreshing beer, perfect for the upcoming warmer months. I wouldn't mind having a sixer of this around to quaff. A nice beer.

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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 Dave1999
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale straw colour with a small white head.

The smell has strong cloves,coriander,yeast and little hint of lemon.

The taste mirrors the smell with the coriander come through pretty strong. It's light yeasty and wheaty.

Overall a decent wit bier light and tasty.

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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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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
3.8 out of 5 based on 367 ratings.
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