Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Celis White

Michigan Brewing Company
Webberville, MI

Style: Belgian White (Witbier)
ABV: 3.9%

Rings’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
• Bass
• Crab
• Eggs
• Halibut
• Lobster
• Salads
• Salmon
• Shrimp
• Sushi
As I’ve mentioned previously, Bobby Mason’s Michigan Brewing Company is a favorite oasis on a road trip as a refreshing trip to the tasting room is a perfect break on the way east or west.

On this trip, I decided to go with their “famous” Celis White, the choice of my lovely road trip partner as she’s partial to the wit beers.

Celis is a pretty interesting tale.

According to the Austin Statesman, “As a boy in his hometown of Hoegaarden, Pierre Celis enjoyed and from time to time helped brew witbier, a light-bodied, refreshing beer brewed primarily with wheat. This white beer, so named because the yeast suspended in the liquid made the beer look cloudy or milky white, had been losing favor locally to German-style beers made with malt that were filtered clear of yeast. By the end of the 1950s, not a single brewery in the Province of Flemish Brabant produced the 500-year-old witbier style.

In 1966 Celis, a milk distributor at the time, decided to make a witbier for himself at home. He used the traditional ingredients, water, yeast, wheat, hops and coriander and dried Curacao orange peel for spice. So satisfied was he that he eventually opened a small brewery. Witbier was a forgotten pleasure Belgians eagerly welcomed back.

The beer’s international popularity was such that when Celis’ brewery burned to the ground in 1985, InterBrew, a Belgian brewing conglomerate, offered to rebuild it. Six years later they bought him out.”

At the age of 60, Celis had money, time and options. By the early ’90s, he founded Celis Brewery in Austin, the state capital of Texas, as microbreweries became legal in that state. The brewery was operated along with his daughter and son-in-law, and expanded quickly. Eventually, they partnered up with Miller Brewing Company to gain distribution access and production expansion in the competitive world of U.S. brewing, the so called Beer Wars.

This partnership soured, however, even as Celis White, Grand Cru and other brands were winning major brewing awards throughout the ’90. Eventually, he sold out to Miller, who in turn closed the Austin brewery and shut down the brand.

In 2002, Michigan Brewing Company acquired the brands and moved production to its Webberville facility, where the White, Cru, and Raspberry live on.

Celis White has a mild citrus nose and pours pale yellow in color with a nice full head. The body is crisp and tastes are effervescent on the tongue as the carbonation exaggerates the orange and spiced flavors. There’s a light, hoppy bite and the flavors round out smoothly with a hint of banana and cream, along with the citrus fruitiness. It’s delightful and surprisingly complex for a lighter brew.

This is an easy four mugs and a fine effort by Michigan Brewing to continue the tradition of Pierre Celis.

Reviewed by Rings on June 9, 2010.
Agree with this review?

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...