Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Optimal Wit | Port City Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
66 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 353
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.

 558 characters

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.

 551 characters

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.

 1,028 characters

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.

 641 characters

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.

 454 characters

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.

 849 characters

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.

 507 characters

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.

 828 characters

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.

 318 characters

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.

 579 characters

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.

 385 characters

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

 586 characters

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.

 697 characters

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.

 443 characters

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.

 608 characters

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...

 913 characters

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.

 751 characters

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.

 657 characters

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.

 343 characters

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.

 549 characters

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.

 654 characters

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.

 445 characters

Photo of SummitVA
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice pale pour with rocky white head. Heavy carbonation.

S – Lemon, sweet pils, and spice—coriander and pepper notes jumping out especially.

T – Sweet pilsner malt followed by lemon and spice. Malt is finished with a beautiful dry tart bite. Coriander, pepper, and lemon linger in the aftertaste.

M – Light.

O – Best offering of Port City IMHO. Fantastic Wit with all the key components. My only complaint is that I’d love a slightly fuller malt presence initially before the light finish. As is, it gives the impression of being a little thin throughout, even when considering the style. A very minor knock on an otherwise fantastic beer. Cheers,

 667 characters

Photo of drizzam
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

 653 characters

Photo of Chaney
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

 1,031 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 353 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!