Brewery Ommegang: Belgian Brewing in America

Posted: April 24, 2009 by Adam Popescu in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

belgian-deliciousness1

Learn to appreciate Belgian Deliciousness

As a senior about to graduate in an ungodly short amount of time, let me give all you students my best piece of advice: Take HPM 422 Wine and Beer Appreciation. Trust me, it’s as sweet as it sounds. And you’ll learn a ton (i.e. this blog). I’m not talking about anything that’s likely to get you a job, but once you do land one you’ll have some ammo ready to impress your boss at his/her next dinner party. And when your parents ask what you learned this semester, you’ll finally be able to fire back something relevant and interesting, like “Dad, you know that Blue Moon in your hand? You’ll get a better taste if you drink it out of a glass rather than the bottle. And don’t put that orange slice in your beer—the acidity ruins the taste.”

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown,NY

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown,NY

Probably the best part of the class is during the second half of the semester when local breweries like Saranac and Empire visit, bringing along straight-from-the-brewhouse beers. Last week, Brewery Ommegang (based in Cooperstown, NY) came to SU with a few of its staple brews. Overall, they brew some hefty beers with complementary alcohol percentages. Read on for details on our in-class tasting and some follow-up notes courtesy of an afternoon at Blue Tusk in Armory Square.

Ommegang Witte Ale—5.1 % alcohol

A hazy golden brew with a full-bodied look and taste. The smell doesn’t give anything away—this one strictly tickles the taste buds and is best enjoyed in big gulps. Be aggressive in your tasting and you’ll be rewarded. It drinks like most other hefeweizens—full-bodied but easy to throw down. The taste really pops at the end, when the aftertaste brings a hint of bananas. Not Runts banana flavor like Empire’s Hefe, but a subtler version. It reminds me a bit of Franziskaner, though not as heavy or bready.

Hennepin Farmhouse Saison—7.7% alcohol

A refreshing orange-gold ale that will surprise you in its complexity. It has an easy, medium-bodied mouthfeel that makes it light enough to drink but heavy enough to enjoy. This brew comes alive in your mouth with a burst of citrus hops. The sour-sweet combo sticks to the roof of your mouth before fading into the big finish—a spicy-sweet note of ginger.

La Chouffe Belgian Golden Ale—8% alcohol

Pale with a sweet smell that’s surprisingly not fruity. In fact, the aroma is more along the lines of melted brown sugar or maple syrup, which is usually indicative of a caramel malt. It’s safe to trust your nose on this one, as the taste follows through—think Nature Valley granola bar without the crunch.

Chimay—9% alcohol

A clear, copper-colored ale. Order it at Blue Tusk like we did and they’ll present the brew in a stout chalice with a silver rim and the beer’s name printed on the side (Note: You’ll also be charged $9. And no, you don’t get to keep the glass). There’s a payout though—it’s 9% alcohol. The brew gives off a subtle, malty sweetness that invites you in for a taste. But this is a tricky one. Think of it as the opposite of a Sour Patch Kid. As soon as it hits your tongue, you know you’ve been fooled (but you’re not really upset). It turns out to be a bitter brew that lingers on the palate. The sour follows through and ends with just a hint of sweetness, bringing your senses full circle and making this a complex brew best enjoyed in small quantities.

American Pride In Brewing

American Pride In Brewing

If you’re up for a road trip, take the two-hour drive to Cooperstown (also home to the Baseball Hall of Fame) for a tour of Brewery Ommegang. Tours and tastings are available daily.

Cheers!

~ Kaitlin

Comments
  1. Katie says:

    Yay for people who actually like good beer! Kaitlin, I’m guessing you’re a fan of beeradvoate.com?

  2. Kaitlin says:

    Yes, definitely! I’m glad other people share my passion 🙂 You should also check out herestobeer.com. They have some great stuff – my favorite part is probably the Beer and Food Pairings section. Keep drinking classy!

  3. maggy paige says:

    I was so happy to come across this blog post – cheers to microbrewing and one of the finest examples at that! I recently visited Brewery Ommegang, deeming it a necessary day trip since I live not too far from the Belgian-brewing mecca. I also get a little excited whenever I hear of my favorite local spot, Blue Tusk. Along with Ommegang, the Tusk is one of the finer places to enjoy a true brew. I’m assuming you’ve also had the opportunity to enjoy the other tap palace, Clark’s Ale House?

  4. Kaitlin says:

    Hey, Maggy. Glad you enjoyed the post! I am a big fan of Blue Tusk as well – unfortunately, I graduated in May and moved out of the Syracuse area. Clark’s is great too, but a distant second to Blue Tusk, in my opinion. Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying them both this semester. Cheers!

  5. Doug says:

    I don’t mind if you use my picture of Ommegang’s Hennepin, but please link it to the original:

    Ommegang, Hennepin

    If you can’t do that, please remove it.

    Brew on!
    Doug

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