Generally speaking most bars won’t give a second thought when serving a pint with a wedge or lemon or orange, but have you ever wondered why they even do that in the first place…and if they should?
When you think of beer with fruit wedges, chances are that you think of a lime wedge with Corona. The simple explanation behind that is it really just helps add enough flavour to a beer that lacks any sort of distinct character. But why add lemons or oranges to other beer like lagers or hefeweizens?
There is some debate over whether a slice of lemon in wheat beers was started in the 1960s in Germany, or whether it was an American invention. However, before the US really had any wheat beers of its own, it served these sorts of garnishes in German-themed bars along with Hefeweizens, suggesting it was a tradition that started there. The whole idea was likely adopted as an imitation of cocktails, which were the drink of choice at bars at the time. However it does seem like it was well popularized in North America.
Now fans of adding wedges to beer will tell you that the tartness of the fruit complements the yeasts used in the beers, and can enhance the beer’s natural citrus flavor. Adding the wedge just adds that extra level of complexity to the beer and makes it that much more refreshing.
However, on the flip side, there are the purists who will say that adding a wedge is a crime against the brewmaster. If they wanted to have an additional citrus taste to the beer they brewed they would have added the citrus themselves. The argument is a craft beer is meant to be drank the way it’s made. In addition, another complaint about some garnishes is that they deflate the head and can affect the carbonation of the beer, which some believe should not be tampered with.
Now in a matter of objectivity, I would say that people can enjoy beer any way they choose, but in reality I’m a purist and believe you should enjoy the beer the way it’s made.
What do you think? Wedge or no wedge? There’s actually a contest happening right now with Big Rock, who want to know the same. Let them know your thoughts and you could win free beer for a year!