GBBF adds 'White Bar'

CAMRA lists American beers featured as British festival

June 19, 1999 - The Great British Beer Festival has added a new feature for 1999 - a "White Bar." This bar will showcase many of the world's great wheat beers.


Of course the focus of the festival, Aug. 3-7 in London, remains cask-conditioned British ales. But as well as serving an astonishing range of cask beers and honoring the best of them, Britain's Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) will offer a variety of beers from around the world. The "Bieres Sans Frontieres" features many smaller United States breweries as well as beer from Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and other nations.

The U.S. draft beers CAMRA plans to offer are: Allagash Double (Maine); Atlantic Coast's Tremont Best Bitter and Tremont IPA (Mass.); Back Bay Freedom Trail IPA and Tea Party Porter (Mass.); Brooklyn East India Pale Ale and Brown (N.Y.); Catamount 10th Anniversary Ale (Vermont); Commonwealth (Boston) to be announced; Commonwealth (New York) Stout plus two to be announced; Deschutes Black Butte Porter plus one other to be announced (Oregon); Elysian to be announced (Washington); Flying Fish Farmhouse plus one other to be announced (New Jersey); Bert Grants's Imperial Stout and IPA (Washington); Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter (Maine); Long Trail to be announced (Conn.); Magic Hat Blind Faith (Vermont); McNeill's ESB and Ducks Breath (Vermont); Old Dominion Tupper's Hop Pocket and Pils (Virginia); People's Pint Broadfork Stout plus one other (Mass.); Rogue Shakespeare Stout plus one other to be announced (Oregon); Seven Barrel Champion Reserve IPA (N.H.); and Vermont Pub & Brewery Smoked Porter (Vermont).

Many other U.S. breweries will send bottled beers, including some that will be on offer at the new White Bar.

Festival organizers state that wheat beer has grown to be a substantial part of several markets in the past 30 years, including Germany, Belgium, Holland and the United States.

Wheat beers are usually made from a mix of wheat and barley, sometimes with spices. The beer undergoes a primary top fermentation, like ale and is usually re-seeded for secondary fermentation in bottle or keg. Unless the beer is filtered the result is often cloudy with yeast. "Not all wheat beers are white but enough of them are associated with this color for us to transfer the appellation to the bar," a CAMRA press release notes.

Featured will be many examples of the Witbier, or Biere Blanche style, revived in the 1960s by Pierre Celis in Belgium with his Hoegaarden Blanche. Many Belgian, Dutch and American breweries now make beer in this style - including the Celis Brewery in Austin, Texas, which Celis founded.

The largest group of wheat beers are the Bavarian Weizenbier, or Weisse, style that is so popular southern Germany and is widely copied elsewhere. These beers are made from barley and malted wheat - with no added spices. They often have a lemony character and the taste of cloves and bananas can be found in several of the more traditional brands.

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