The Brew Site

Wheat Beer Week: Shock Top Belgian White

Yes—gasp!—it’s a beer from Anheuser-Busch. I drink those from time to time, and when I saw this in the store, my curiosity finally got the better of me. While the name and packaging seem to come straight from a marketing department (hat tip to Stan for that), the beer comprising Shock Top Belgian White itself is much more solid.

Brewed in the style of a Belgian Witbier, which is a wheat-based ale always spiced and (ideally) served cloudy with yeast, Shock Top is 5.2% alcohol by volume and (according to the label) brewed with lemon, lime, and orange peels, and coriander.

By any other name: when it was introduced in February 2006 as a specialty seasonal, it was under the name Spring Heat Spiced Wheat. To be honest, I don’t know which name is better, since both just aren’t great.

Appearance: Cloudy pale yellow with a gold-orange tint; very white head with a short life. Sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Smell: Bright, fresh nose of coriander that’s very fragrant and there’s a bare hint of citrus peel below that.

Taste: Light and wheaty—not strong, but like a light bread—with a hint of white pepper, some bitterness from the fruit peel, and the coriander. It’s the coriander that’s most prominent, combined with a touch of citrus; it brightens up the flavor and—to me—conjures up images of hot, sunny days.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light-bodied with a bit of an edge to it, and a slightly off-bitter finish (though very clean). A bit lighter in the mouth than I would like/expect.

Overall: Better than I anticipated. I enjoy this type of "Belgian White" style, even though (I suspect) it’s fairly Americanized. Drinkable, I might buy it again.

On BeerAdvocate, it scores a surprisingly high (for an A-B beer) grade of B-. On RateBeer, it scores 2.68 out of 5 and is in their 23rd percentile.