American wheat beers are a style of beer that emerged in the 1980s during the craft beer revolution in the United States. Unlike traditional German and Belgian wheat beers, which are brewed with a significant amount of wheat malt, American wheat beers often use a higher proportion of barley malt, making them a bit less sweet and more crisp than their European counterparts. These beers are often enjoyed in the summertime, when their light, refreshing flavour and lower alcohol content make them the perfect choice for hot weather.
That said, American wheat beers still typically contain at least 30% wheat malt in the mash, which gives them a hazy appearance and a smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel. They are usually brewed with American ale yeast, which contributes fruity and citrusy notes to the beer, and are often hopped with American hop varieties, which tend to have a more aggressive and bitter flavour profile than their European counterparts.
Almost any American or New World hop can be used in American wheat beers, but some of the most commonly used ones include:
- Cascade: This is a classic American hop variety that is known for its citrusy and floral aroma. It is often used in American wheat beers to add a bright, hoppy character to the beer.
- Citra: Another popular American hop variety, Citra is known for its tropical and citrusy aroma. It adds notes of grapefruit, lime, orange, mango and lychee.
- Amarillo: This hop variety is known for its complex aroma, which includes notes of orange, grapefruit, and pine. When used in American wheat beers, it adds a bright, citrusy character.
- Simcoe: Simcoe is a versatile hop variety that is known for its piney, earthy, and passionfruit aroma. It adds a resinous, dank character to the beer with fruity overtones.
- El Dorado: This is a newer American hop variety that is known for its tropical fruit aroma. Common aroma descriptors are pineapple, mango, papaya and stone fruit.
We change the hops up in our 4.2% American wheat beer, Nobody Is Prefect. So far we have used combinations of Galaxy, Ella, Sabro, El Dorado and Mosaic. Which hop combinations would you like to see in this beer?