Excited to venture beyond the familiar realms of traditional ales and lagers? In this article, we’re diving into the world of wheat beers to untap the secrets of two popular styles – Hefeweizen and Weissbier. What’s the difference, what do they taste like, and what makes them favourites among seasoned beer enthusiasts.

What is wheat beer?

Wheat beer is a style of beer that’s made predominantly using wheat (with a touch of barley). The use of wheat gives a uniquely light and refreshing profile to the beer, although there are various different types, each with different attributes. Wheat beers can range from pale to dark, and they offer a diverse range of flavours, including fruity and spicy notes.

Why is wheat beer so cloudy?

One notable characteristic of wheat beer is its hazy appearance, which comes from the wheat proteins that can suspend in the liquid.

What are the different types of wheat beer?

The most common styles of wheat beer are hefeweizen, weissbier, American wheat ale, Belgian witbier and French bière blanche.

Wheat beers at Beerwulf

What is the difference between weissbier and witbier?

The terms weissbier, weizen and German wheat beer are all used interchangeably. As are white beer, white ale and witbier.

Simply put, weissbier is German and witbier is Belgian. There are, however, a few key differences between each style: 

  • For a witbier, brewers use un-malted wheat, a weissbier uses 50% wheat malt.
  • Witbeer contains less wheat than weissbier, which influences the overall taste profile.
  • Both beers are top-fermented, but a weissbier is brewed with special weizen yeast, which gives off those characteristic clove and banana flavours.
  • A weissbier beer complies with the Reinheitsgebot (the German purity law), forbidding it to be brewed with "anything other than water, barley, and hops". This means that no herbs or fruits are added. The soft, sweet, fruity character of weissbier comes solely from the yeast.
  • You will generally not find the typical banana flavour in a witbeer, but rather citrus and coriander. During the brewing process, the brewer adds coriander seeds and curaçao peels, which are the peels of a bitter orange.




How to serve wheat beers

A witbier is best served between 3-5 degrees Celsius in a thick and sturdy glass. A weissbier is usually served slightly warmer, at a temperature of around 6 - 8 degrees Celsius, in a tall, narrow glass that flares outwards. Read more about beer glasses here.

What is hefeweizen?

Originating from Germany, hefeweizen is known for its cloudy appearance, fruity notes (such as banana and citrus), and a slight spiciness from the yeast.

What is American wheat ale?

A variation with a more American twist, featuring a clean taste, moderate hop presence, and a lighter body.

What is Belgian witbier?

Belgian wheat beer often includes spices like coriander and orange peel, resulting in a refreshing and slightly spicy flavour profile.

What is French bière blanche?

Similar to Belgian Witbier, this French style embraces a hazy appearance and may incorporate local ingredients for a unique twist.

What are some of the most famous wheat beers?

Some of the most famous wheat beers include:

Paulaner Hefeweizen: a Bavarian classic renowned for its rich banana and clove flavours.

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier: brewed by the world's oldest brewery, Weihenstephaner, this Hefeweizen boasts a perfect balance of fruit and spice.

Hoegaarden Witbier: a Belgian witbier known for its cloudy appearance and citrusy, coriander-spiced flavour profile.

Blue Moon Belgian White: a popular American interpretation of Belgian witbier, offering a smooth feel with hints of orange peel and coriander.

Franziskaner Weissbier: another Bavarian gem, Franziskaner Weissbier features a slightly sweet maltiness complemented by banana and clove notes.

When is the best time to enjoy wheat beer?

Wheat beers are popular during warmer seasons due to their light and crisp nature, making them a refreshing spring beer.

Can wheat beer be paired with food?

Absolutely! Wheat beers pair well with lots of different dishes. Hefeweizen's light and fruity notes, for example, complement seafood, salads, and even spicy dishes. Wheat beers also pair well with lighter meats like chicken, turkey and pork and grilled vegetable dishes.


Exploring the world of wheat beers offers a diverse range of tastes away from your typical lagers and IPAs. Whether you're savouring the cloudiness of a Hefeweizen or the crisp elegance of a Weissbier, each style brings its own distinct charm to the table. What’s your favourite? Let us know by tagging us on Instagram!