Bronckhorster and Hertog Jan’s revival of witbier Witte Raaf

Witte Raaf

Brewery: Bronckhorster Brewing Company & Hertog Jan
Bottling date: May 2019
Drinking date: June 19, 2019 
ABV: 5,1
Beer style: Witbier
Package: Bottle 33 cl
Bottle nr: N/A

Tasting notes 

  • Visual: light honey color, thick white foam
  • Aroma: a hint of lemon, but for me the banana aroma is coming through more than the citrus. 
  • Flavor: There is subtle hint of tartness in the beer from the wheat (and according to the brewer’s notes below also the yeast) and definitely a zesty bitterness. Also in the flavor I find the banana to be quite prominent. The finish isn’t as sweet as the original may have been (judging by old notes), although the sweetness started coming through more the longer you sip it. There is a bit of spiciness, but not as notable as the comments I found on the version from twenty years ago suggest.
  • Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation

The first Dutch witbier has been revived! Presumably a one-off, but still interesting to see how this collab compares to the older tasting notes I found from between 2003 and 2011. The previous version made in Arcen seems to have had notable citrus tones and spicy aromas with a sweet wheaty finish. A few people commented that the original, brewed by Brouwerij De Raaf was better than the later versions (made after the brewery was sold), but that Hoegaarden was the best witbier around. Unfortunately I never tried the original version, so of course very curious to know if this one comes close! Let me know in the comments below.

Brewer’s description of the beer

Witte Raaf witbier has an ABV of 5,1% and a citrusy aroma. It is refreshing with a hint of tartness from the yeast and orange peels. The coriander gives it a spicy note. Color is pale and cloudy from the yeast and wheat used.

About the collaboration

In celebration of Dutch Beer Week in May, Dutch breweries Bronckhorster Brewing Company and Hertog Jan teamed up to revive the first Dutch witbier Witte Raaf. The label states it is brewed according to the recipe used in Arcen (after Brouwerij De Raaf was sold), which may differ from the original recipe brewed in the eighties and nineties. Unfortunately I cannot find any information on that. The label is almost true to the previous one, except the pelican has been replaced by a crow. The beer is available at the Hertog Jan brewery in Arcen, the cafés of the Hertog Jan Genootschap, Mitra stores and at the festivals Kannen & Kruiken and Lepeltje Lepeltje.

The original version was the first and most brewed witbier in The Netherlands. Brewery De Raaf, founded by Herm Hegger, started brewing in 1983. However, the demand for his popular witbier became so monumental that he sold the brewery to Oranjeboom in 1995. Hegger went on the start a new brewery in Nijmegen in 1996, Brouwerij De Hemel. I wonder what he thinks of this revival of his famous witbier!

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