White beer was born in Germany. There is no longer any doubt in this.
Over time, two major families were distinguished; the ‘weissen’ and the ‘Witbier’. They are respectively German and Belgian and have quite substantial differences.
The 'weissen' are the oldest because they date back at least to the period of Clovis. At that time, the production of beer in Germany was legislated in a text which required brewers to use only ingredients from the region itself (the circuit run ahead of time) and determined which ingredients could be used (water, malt, hops and yeasts). There is therefore no addition of spices or other additives. This law is still applicable with regard to the 'weissen' and its sub-styles (dunkel, hefe, etc.).
Regarding the 'witbier', writings have been found which mention the production of wheat beers in the Louvain region towards the end of the 14th century. We also know that the use of coriander, which is specific to this style, was already applied in the 18th century by the monks of Hoegaarden.
The use of coriander is one of the hallmarks of modern 'witbier', and it is present in almost all white beers brewed in Belgium.
But it was in 1966 that the style was really revived with Pierre Celis who recreated the Hoegaarden as we know it today. Pierre's success was immediate, he sold the label to Interbrew (current ABInbev) to go to the United States where he continued to brew his recipe which he refused to reveal to the industrial group.