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Optimal Wit | Port City Brewing

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very good
66 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 353
Photo of tlazaroff
4.54/5  rDev +19.8%
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 mpyle
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw colored and a bit cloudy. Pours a modest white head, creamy and with some retention (but not great).

Aroma has some subtle spice notes, with pepper, orange, and coriander.

Flavor is more assertive than the aroma, with a nice hit of a peppery orange flavor. Dries out nicely and finishes with a spicy bitterness.

MF - Light body and high carbonation, as expected for the style. Carbonation adds to the drying sensation, and invites another sip.

Overall a nice, light Belgian style beer. Belgian character is present but not overwhelming, but does add a lot to the flavor profile. Definitely a good change of pace beer for the summer months.

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Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Founders pint glass. It poured a hazy, golden yellow color with a thin, bright white head covering the top of the beer.

The aroma has a bright, citrusy flavor to it with notes coriander and orange peel really coming out. I get a good amount of sweeter, bready, wheat malt flavors to it as well. Pretty nice for the style.

The taste also shows a lot of those brighter, orange peel and coriander citrusy flavors. The orange peel especially stands out to me. I get some bitterness to it in the finish that really helps balance it out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is moderate, and perhaps a little below average for the style. Overall it's a pretty good beer of the style. The citrusy, orange peel and coriander were very nice and it was pretty balanced overall. A very nice new local beer option for a style we buy fairly frequently.

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

A: highly hazy burnt yellow hue. billowing white head wont let me fill my glass all the way. no carbonation can be seen through the unfiltered body.

S: cracked black pepper. smells like a florist shop with the bouquet of flowers. gentle honey. a dry simple sweetness.

T: a zesty citrus. orange juice. soft sweetness. a bit of lemon that adds just a touch of sourness in the middle. pretty dry finish. not a whole lot of tartness.

M: hard carbonation on the border of effervescent. medium body.

D: one of my favorites from this new northern va brewery. looking forward to some seasonals!

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Photo of kevinv
3.98/5  rDev +5%
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 smakawhat
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Off the pour gives a small but marginally sized white heat of two and a half fingers. Body is a slightly opaque lemon gold, looking very much like a Hoegarden only a little deeper.

Bouquet is minimal muted wheat and yeast, faint grain sense. Some small sense of clove spice but not much going on here. It is however pleasant, and solid, but not particularly engaging and big.

After all that you would expect a little disappointed but, luckily from there everything improves. Taste is solid and expansive but simple. Simple chew and spice clove, with a good body. Finish is deep and solid and coating.

This is a straightforward easy drinking example of this style, not much else to say about it, just wish it had a better bouquet.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, courtesy of Mike, straight from the brewery. Bleak and boring label...

A: Hazy pale yellow, fizzy almost non existent white head, unless you pour quite vigorously.

S: Quite muted, though some notes of clove, spice and orange peel come through. Subtle notes of coriander and banana in the back end.

T: Very refreshing and light. Lemon, orange, mango and some clove spice. Nothing is dominant or over done - all flavors are blended quite well with each other. Finishes leaves a bit of dryness that I wish wasn't there.

M: Low end of being a medium-bodied beer, nice ample carbonation.

An extremely easy drinking Witbier, for sure. There isn't too much going on here in terms of flavors in both the nose and taste, but there's enough to be refreshing and tasty. Sure there are better Witbiers out there but a really good first attempt from a new brewery.

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Photo of dedrinker
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
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 PhillyStyle
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso, served in a tulip glass - Old Town, Alexandria, VA (3/2011):

The appeared a bright, hazy, light golden color with a nice white, foamy head that was well-retained and settled into a spotty cap and some nice lacing. The beer looked as expected for the style.

The beer gave off the typical wheat-ish aroma, with hints of yeast/bread, orange and some other spices. The aroma was good, not overpowering, but solid.

The taste of the beer was good, followed the nose really well. The yeast/bread/barley was the first thing that was tasted, followed by a nice hint of the spices. The only problem that I had with the beer is that it got a little watered down at the end. I have never experienced that before, so I am not really sure what to think of it.

The beer had a light feel to it. The beer was very smooth and clean, good carbonation and easy to drink.

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Photo of sholland119
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
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 drabmuh
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Mike, served in a Russian River wine glass. Beer is white with a thin white head and a lot of haze. Moderate to low carbonation, a little lacing.

Smells like wheat, mild esters from the yeast, no spice.

Beer is thin and watery with a grainy finish, it's not bad, just OK. The beer is mildly sweet with little to no flavor in the midpalate but the finish is just a little dry. Overall it's just OK.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The beer appears a cloudy, straw yellow hue with a thick, dense white head. The head displays noticeable staying power, gradually fading to about a quarter inch and leaving some decent lacing on the glass.

The aroma seems a bit out of character for a witbier. It smells much more like a hefeweizen, with a prominent scent of banana and clove.

The taste is decent, but with much more banana than I would prefer from a witbier. Also, the spices, especially coriander, are muted and could be brought out more. The beer is slightly grainy / bready, with a slightly low carbonation level.

I'd be interested to try this again, as I was a bit underwhelmed this first time around, especially based on the initial reviews from a few friends.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by the Port City tasting room on 02/05/11 and got to try this and their Pale Ale. Decided to pick a growler of this up for a Superbowl party. Reviewed from 02/06/11 notes. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

s - Pours a murky yellow color with one inch of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of coriander, orange peels, spices, yeast, and wheat.

t - Tastes of wheat, orange zest and peels, spices, coriander, and wheat. A step up from the nose, very enjoyable.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and creamy body, very easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a good, very drinkable witbier. Nice mouthfeel and I enjoyed the coriander and orange in the taste; not overpowering but enjoyable. I felt like I could have drank several glasses of this. Would certainly get again.

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Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
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 ahalloin
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
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 Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
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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Optimal Wit from Port City Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 353 ratings.
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