After a discussion we had with some friends on white beers and basically if there are differences between Wit Beer and HefeWeizen we attempt to give a brief description of both so you will end up with your own conclusions .
The Weissbier (Weißbier)
Is a specialty Bavarian beer in which a not-insignificant portion of the malted barley is replaced with a different cereal: malted wheat. Weissbiers are top-fermented as required by The Bavarian purity law and specialized strains of yeast are added to produce the banana, clove and apple notes that are common to the style. There are sub-categories of the Weissbier also. For instance, the most common type of Weissbier in the U.S. is the Hefeweizen widely known as “Hefe“. In the Hefewiezen, the yeast is not filtered out which creates a thick, white cloudy appearance. Also popular in Bavaria is the dunkles Hefeweiss (Dunkelweizen elsewhere in the world). This beer is brewed with very dark malts and results in a very dark, bready beer. The Kristallweiss, on the other end of the spectrum, is heavily filtered resulting in a very clear beer. The last two sub-varieties of the Weissbierare the Weizenbock and the Weizen Eisbock. The Weizenbock is typcially a strong (Starkbier or “strong beer”) beverage enjoyed during the cold winter months; it can also be referred to as Weizenstarkbier (literal translation: “Wheat Strong Beer”). The Weizen Eisbock uses a freezing process similar to that used in an Eisbock to remove some of the water thus concentrating the result.
Some popular Weiss Beers are: Erdinger, HB Weiss, Franziskaner Weissbier
The Witbier (White beer)
Is very similar to the Weissbier but is brewed primarily in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is a top-fermented beer too and is generally served unfiltered leaving the yeast in a semi-suspension imparting a cloudy or hazy appearance to the beer. The primary difference between the Weissbier and the Witbier is a causality of the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Purity Law) which dictates, in Germany, that no ingredients other than water, barley and hops can go into the brewing of a beer (yeast was a natural by-product and was not known to be part of the process until the 1800s so was not included in the original text of the law). While the Reinheitsgebot has long since been replaced by the Provisional German Beer Law, many German breweries still abide by the standards set forth in it. A similar law existed in 14th Century France (Belgium was at the time, a French territory) outlawing the use of hops in beer. Therefore, the Belgians had to experiment with ingredients other than hops. The modern Witbier is descended from those experiments and replaces hops with gruit – a mixture of coriander, orange, hops and bitter orange – resulting in a much less hoppy and slightly fruitier beer. Since it’s an unfiltered, top-fermented beer, it continues to ferment after bottling. Some popular Wit Beers are Hoegaarden, Brugs Witbier
The obvious differences is the replacement of Hops in the case of Wit Beer with other aromatic ingredients, the other obvious difference is their original geographical origins.Both types belong to a bigger category of White Beers and both types look, taste and feel more or less the same to the wide public.