Now, we all know that beer style choices needn't be entirely weather dependent - a stout is for life, not just for Christmas! - but I must admit that on a hot sunny afternoon, a glass of wheat beer often feels like the only sensible choice. From classic Belgian witbier and German weissbier to unusual modern twists, wheat beer can be a marvellously diverse style to explore.

As the name would suggest, wheat beer is brewed with wheat rather than barley! Duh! This gives the beer a naturally hazy appearance, with a large fluffy white head. Wheat beers generally have low bitterness as they are only lightly hopped, with other characteristic flavours taking pride of place. In a Belgian or Belgian-style witbier such as Blanche de Bruxelles or Celis White, these flavours are typically delicate notes of coriander and orange peel, which are used in the brew along with raw, unmalted wheat as opposed to the malted wheat used in German weissbier.

German weissbier has a flavour profile very different to that of Belgian witbier; the characteristic banana and spicy clove notes come from the weissbier yeast. The most common type of weissbier is hefeweizen (hefe meaning yeast), which refers to wheat beer in its naturally cloudy, unfiltered state as seen in Erdinger Hefe Weiss and Schneider Weisse Original. Sometimes weissbier is filtered to make kristalweizen, removing both the yeast and wheat proteins and leaving a clear beer. You can also find dark, malty wheat beers like Schneider Aventinus and Erdinger Hefe Dunkel, which are called dunkelweizen.

Witbier and weissbier are classic styles which have influenced brewing all over the world, including here in Britain. Of course, breweries often like to adapt a style and make it their own, which has given us imaginative takes on wheat beer such asTicketyBrew Rose Wheat, using refreshing rose water and a spicy ginger kick to make a delicate yet flavoursome brew, and Otley O9, previously known as O-Garden in an appreciative nod to the widely available witbier Hoegaarden. Along with the characteristic orange and coriander, Otley upped the traditional hopping levels using pithy citrus hops, giving a subtle bitterness and putting their own stamp on this classic style.

So there you are, a quick guide to the wonderful world of wheat beer! If this has piqued your interest, all of the beers mentioned in this blog post are available as part of our Wheat Beer Mixed Case, along with many more. Now isn't that convenient?

- Rowan