Optimal Wit | Port City Brewing

very good
69 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: 69 | Ratings: 359
Photo of kylehay2004
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
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 BryanCarey
3.42/5  rDev -9.8%
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 Daniellobo
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
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 WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
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 Todd
3.44/5  rDev -9.2%
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 DefenCorps
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
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 00trayn
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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 VncentLIFE
3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
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 BeerFMAndy
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
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 clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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 TechTriumph
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 11/03/11:
No freshness date; Poured in a weizen glass.

A - 3" creamy white head that recedes to 1/2" after a few minutes; Straw yellow/amber color with a cloudy haze; Lacing is minimal

S - Very light smell; Notes of cloves, bananas, and fresh bread with a slight citrus aroma as well

T - Bread-like yeast up front; Cloves, spices, and slighty sweet citrus flavor comes through next; Light aftertaste with a subtle flavor of grains

M - Pretty good carbonation - tingles and massages the tongue; Nice clean and slightly dry finish; Light bodied

O - I think this brew does a pretty good job for a witbier. It's smooth, easy to drink, and very refreshing. I could certainly drink many of these in succession. I may wait until the warmer months, but I'll definitely seek out this beer and have again in the future.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.94/5  rDev +4%
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 vfgccp
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
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 Eriktheipaman
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
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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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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 Rhettroactive
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
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 Pencible
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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 devilben02
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
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 mralphabet
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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 zeledonia
3.89/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden straw yellow, a might bit hazy. The one-finger white head, all big bubbles, disappeared when I turned my back. No lacing.

Smells of wheat, spices, and Belgian yeast. Quite nice, kind of a kitchen sink variety, with the various aromas almost, but not quite, blending together well.

Tastes much like it smells. Pale malt, nice soft peppery spice, wheat. No hops, no bitterness. Just tasty smooth pale spicy goodness.

Medium-light body, carbonation is a touch low. Finish is neither quick nor long - right there in the middle. Slightly dry.

A very solid wit, with everything you'd expect and nothing you wouldn't. Pretty darn tasty, but nothing amazing. It's exciting to see a local brewer making this style one of their staples.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
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 mactrail
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
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 Godot
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
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 Marty30
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to smokeypeat for sending me this brew! Poured into A Founders snifter at fridge temp.

A. Body is a pale straw yellow,leaves about a 1 inch white head that dissapates very quickly.Spotty lacing is stuck to the glass.

S. Lemon and orange zest upfront with spicy Belgian notes. Has A very nice kind if bread crust back bone.

T. Follows the smell pretty good. Citrus and spicy notes round this out.I'm getting Some corriander,lemon,bread like notes.

M. Light medium feel makes for easy drinkability. Good carbonation cleans the palate.

Overall A very well made beer in my opinion.I havn't had many witbier's this is one of the best I have had.

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Photo of localone703
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
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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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 359 ratings.
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