Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4: Karl and the Tale of the Ommegang Hennepin

The restaurant and tasting room in Cooperstown, NY

As the Festival of the Saison continues here on the blog, the latest brewdo I do do happens to hail from the same region of the world as the gentleman writing this post. Ommegang brewery originally started as a husband and wife team who wanted to import Belgian beers to the states. Eventually importing gave way to brewing their own batches and Ommegang, now a part of the Belgian company responsible for Duvel, has been producing quality beers since 1997 from its farmhouse located near the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Ommegang, and had the pleasure of visiting the brewery on one of my recent trips home. I highly recommend the trip, and the aroma of well-crafted beer that greets you when you reach the grounds and step out of your auto is an aromatic festivus for beer lovers.

The happy couple

Of the many quality bottles that Ommegang releases, the Hennepin may be their most revered. A 7.7% farmhouse-style saison, it is truly a magnificent brew. A cloudy, golden liquid is topped by a seemingly endless creamy white head that completely fills the Duvel glass this saison is poured into. The large glass allows the aromas to happily dance about, with smells of pears, orange peel, lemon and Belgian yeast tickling the nostrils. The taste offers equal complexity to the bouquets, sharing many similarities to a well made hefeweizen. There are some citrus notes, some banana, some cloves, but this is then balanced out by some hop flavor and the taste of rye bread. It is slightly tart, but by no means sour, and the tartness just adds to the balance of complex flavors. It is extremely effervescent, and it lingers on your tongue just long enough to encourage you to have another sip. I easily finish off the 750ml bottle on my own, which then leads to some inexplicable mistakes by my defenders in FIFA. Many people (I being a member of this crowd) cite this beer as the “saison that lead me to enjoy saisons” and if you enjoy good hefes, or Belgian tripels, I would give this beer a shot. It may win you over as well.

The pearly gates to my nose's beer heaven

Rating: A-

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