The year was 2010 and the pilot batch of what was to become Tiki Wheat hit a fermentation vessel for the first time. After a month of fermentation, a wonderful clove forward, rich Belgian wheat beer was born. The beer enjoyed that warm summer day in 2010 was dubbed the Wyatt Wit, a tribute to the nephew of Galveston Island Brewing founder/brewer, Mark Dell’Osso. The very first batch of Wyatt Wit took gold at a prestigious homebrew competition just weeks later.
Fast forward a few years, Dell’Osso found himself near completion of the brewery he worked toward and dreamed about those early years’ home brewing.
“After a few brews to break in the newly built homemade 175 gallon brew system it was time to roll out a light easy-to-drink beer and I knew just what it should be.”
It was time to try that same medal winning Belgian Wit. The decision was made to drop the orange peel (to avoid troublesome clogging of the breweries heat exchanger) and pair it up with the Galveston Island Brewing (GIB) house yeast strain. A yeast strain that was much cleaner and lacked the strong phenolic notes of the Belgian strain used in the original brew. Now it needed a name.
Over the years of planning, many names for many styles of beers were pitched. Most never actually making it to the list of beers GIB serves today. One random beer name pitched by Dell’Osso’s wife, Liesel, and quickly shot down, was Tiki Light. “I’ll never brew a ‘light’ beer.” It’s June 2014 and the beloved wheat beer needed a name. Liesel once again pitched TIKI as a reference to all things tropical, but also as a connection to a small waterfront community near Galveston. Tiki Island was synonyms for fishing, boating, & all things coastal in Texas. It just rolled off the tongue, Tiki Wheat.
When the first batch rolled out Dell’Osso knew it would be a huge hit. A clean crisp mouthfeel from the American yeast strain. Coupled with a rich wheat note and an ever present citrus flavor from the freshly cracked coriander instantly made this beer “the go-to” at the brewery. For over a year, Tiki Wheat grew in popularity with just the words “TIKI WHEAT” in large block letters on a tap handle. This lack of branding didn’t stop the local bars and restaurants from making it their “must have” local beer selection.
With much more complexity than your average crossover blonde ale and paired with an almost sweetness from the lack of perceived bitterness, Tiki Wheat made for a great beer for both craft beer lovers as well as the traditional beer drinker. Over the course of the next couple of years Tiki Wheat became a mainstay at Galveston bars and restaurants by the essential handselling from Dell’Osso and his team.
“The next step would be getting this wildly popular beer into a can.”
Some if not all of you know that perfect occasion of enjoying a can of Galveston Island Brewing Tiki Wheat on the coast, with your feet in the sand and the sun setting beside you. While you may not be able to experience that exact occasion at this very moment you can enjoy The Official Beer of Galveston anytime by grabbing a 6pk at your local grocer or convenient store on and off the island. Cheers!