Wheat beers are relatively knew to the American beer scene, having been revived in 1984 by Anchor Brewing Company. To find a wheat beer in the U.S. prior to then, you’ll have to travel back 72 years to pre-Prohibition Reston, Virginia, where Lake Anne Brew House served up Draught Beer 1912. Take one sip of Go On, and we’re pretty sure you won’t want to wait seven decades to order a second round.
A tall head sits atop a deep gold liquid, presenting citrusy and floral aromas. The mouthfeel is a medium-light body with dancing carbonation, with a soft character and creamy qualities.
Prior to World War I, wheat beer – also known as “Weizenbier” (wheat beer) or Weisse (white) – were never popular outside of Germany, and only a handful of U.S. breweries even offered this style of beer. By the end of World War I in 1918, anti-German sentiment was surging through the U.S., and wheat beers were pushed into obscurity. When Prohibition was enacted two years later, wheat beers were altogether obliterated.
While the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 brought brewing back in America, wheat beers were long forgotten. Americans had an unquenchable demand for Pilsner-style lagers – at least until 1975, when pale ales started to make a comeback. In fact, it wasn’t until 1984 that Anchor Brewing Company reintroduced wheat beer to Americans.
If the First World War effectively put an end to wheat beers in America, the Second World War started their revival. On Victory in Europe Day (May 8, 1945), 1.6 million American troops were already on Germany soil, a presence the U.S. would not relinquish for the next 40 years. From 1945 to 1985, roughly eight million American soldiers were deployed to Germany, and three generations of soldiers were happily exposed to the local beer. These returning G.I.s, many of whom were rediscovering their German heritage, created a demand for imported German beers, wheat beer included.
Anchor Brewing Company’s release of Anchor Summer Wheat in 1984 marked the first domestically brewed wheat beer since Prohibition. Released each year in advance of the summer season, it is a filtered wheat beer with clean, crisp flavors. Anchor Brewing Company fueled a passion for wheat beers in the United States in 1984, much like it did for pale ales 10 years earlier when it released Liberty Ale, the first U.S. brewed pale ale since 1920.
This is an excellent beer to serve at brunch or lunch and pairs well with eggs, bacon, and sausage. It also goes well with nearly all saladsand most seafood, including shrimp, scallops, and lighter fish such as halibut and sole. It is wonderful with light and fresh cheeses such as chevre, cream cheeses, and ricotta. Try this beer with light cream-based and fruit desserts, especially those with citrus.