Some breweries make hay out of the fact that they conform to reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law (now there's a scary combination of words). Adopted in 1516, the law says beer should be made from nothing more than barley, hops and water. Perhaps at some point in history this law made sense, but nowadays it's a pretty antiquated way of thinking-particularly when you consider Belgian beer.
nfettered by purity laws, Belgian brewers have produced some of the world's most interesting beers by incorporating herbs, spices and fruit. One of my favorite styles of all is witbier, the white ale made from wheat and spiced with coriander and Curaçao orange peel.
Thanks to the explosion of craft brewing in the United States, it's no longer necessary to pay premium Belgian prices for this kind of beer. Excellent examples of witbier are now brewed in Japan, Quebec, Colorado and right here in San Diego at Ballast Point. One of the most food-friendly beers out there, witbier is definitely worth a try.
Variety: White Rascal
Price: Roughly $8 for a six-pack at BevMo or Whole Foods. The Wit's End in Hillcrest serves it by the bottle.
This beer, pouring cloudy and orange, with a fluffy white head, is unfiltered, leaving yeast in the bottom of the bottle-which is apparently why some European doctors prescribe this kind of beer to people with skin conditions. The flavor has an initial hint of sweetness from the orange peel that gives way to a dry, tart finish. It's best served with fish, fried foods, cold cuts and spicy cuisines like Thai or Indian. Somewhat low in alcohol at 5.5 percent, it's the kind of beer that people who don't normally like beer can enjoy.