Everyone (who went to primary school in NZ) knows the Maori colour song, which kicks off with, ‘Ma is white’… Well, Fork Brewing has taken inspiration from that little ditty to create Ma is White 5.4% Belgian Witbier – with a distinctly New Zealand twist.
Belgian Witbier (think Hoegaarden) is a type of wheat beer that traditionally has orange peel and coriander seeds added to give a subtle citrus and spice character.
Says Kelly: “I’m a big fan of a couple of our indigenous herbs, Horopito (Mountain Pepper) and Kawakawa (in the pepper family and a cuzzy of the herb used to make Kava in the Pacific Islands).
“Horopito has an intense spiciness and was originally used as an antiseptic and to treat stomach aches as well as having a bunch of antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has even been reported to slightly alter how our tastebuds work and make bitter compounds taste sweet! A pretty cool (or hot!) herb.
“Kawakawa is recognisable due to its heart-shaped leaves and bright orange and aromatic fruit, which are also edible. It has a wonderfully intense pungency and reminds me instantly of summer. Used for everything from toothache to stomach ailments and even fro stings and bruises, it is a bit of a wonder herb!”
These were added with the ground coriander seeds and fresh sweet navel orange zest at the end of the boil to provide a nice, subtle peppery kick. Combined with the herbal aromatics and ester-forward profile of the Belgian Wit yeast, this beer offers a lot of perfume, whilst being dry and clean on the palate.
Ma is White Belgian Witbier Tasting Notes
Appearance: Hazy, pale lemon with a firm, thick and white head.
Aroma: Peppery spice and underlying citrus dominate with a slight background of clove and bubblegum. A subtle touch of sulphur rounds out the profile.
Flavour: The softness of the wheat malt and flaked red wheat initially hit the palate, followed by a combination of sweet and spice. Fruity characters develop mid-palate, with the hint of clove and candy dissipating and ending with a light and dry finish. A hint of tartness finishes this Witbier, making it a great quencher.
Malt: Premium Pilsener, Wheat, Flaked Red Wheat and Flaked Spelt
Other: Flaked Horopito, Flaked Kawakawa, Coriander seeds, NZ Sweet Navel Orange zest
Yeast: Belgian Wit