When old-time Wisconsin brewer Leinenkugel expanded into California a couple of years ago, people probably expected it to lead with its legendary ultra-malty bock. Instead, it gave us this unfiltered wheat beer. It contains a dash of coriander, which puts it in the same general camp as a Belgian witbier, but without the orange peel that usually goes along with the spice.
Leinie's knew what it was doing. This is a wonderfully quaffable beer for our climate, a bit malty but not heavy, with a clean finish barely kissed by hops. The coriander adds an attractive floral-spicy note. It's hard to imagine anything more enjoyable in the evening of a hot day or beside the pool.
The brewer suggests sticking in a wedge of orange, which certainly is tasty (witbier's coriander-orange affinity reasserting itself). It's a food beer too. Try it with fried chicken accompanied by fruit salad or maybe with a mild chicken curry.
Charles Perry --
Style: A mild, attractive wheat beer scented with coriander.
Price: $8.49 per six-pack.
Where you find it: At Beverages & More stores, www.bevmo.com; and Red Carpet Wine in Glendale, (800) 339-0609, www.redcarpet wine.com.