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Beer Review #223 Hennepin

Today’s beer comes from Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, New York. It is a traditional Farmhouse Saison ale that comes in at 7.7% ABV. I was a bit confused when I looked at this bottle as it has all of the Ommegang markings, but the label says that this beer was brewed in Belgium by Duvel Moortgat, NV. According to some info that I was able to find on the net, Ommegang will outsource some of their beer to the Duvel Brewery whenever they have to do changes and/or construction on their brewery in Cooperstown. The last time that I was able to find this happening was in 2011, so I don’t know if I got an old bottle or if they are doing additional changes at the brewery.

Hennepin pours a beautiful blond color with a creamy white head. The beer pours clear out of the bottle with some sediment at the bottom. Against the instructions on the bottle, I swirled my second glass of this to see what the yeast tasted like with the beer. The nose first hits with a nice malty sweetness and then flows into a wonderful light Belgian spice. Nothing on the nose was overly aggressive and seemed to be in balance nicely.

On my first taste I was ecstatic to taste how creamy and flavorful the malt was. Sometimes Belgian beers become too much about the spices and not enough about the malt (particularly US versions). This beer had a wonderful, semi-sweet, grainy body that flowed nicely with each sip. The Belgian spices are solidly there, but well balanced with the hops. I recently reviewed another Saison that I considered to be the “poster child of what a Sasion should be” and I think this beer could fall into that realm as well.

This beer is really outstanding. Everything is in perfect balance and it is packed with flavor. I’m going to be buying another one of these beers shortly and maybe even attempting be make my own Saison. I really can’t say enough kind words about this beer. Brewery Ommegang puts out some great beers, but this might be on of their best achievements. (more…)

Beer Review #116 Cup O Kyndnes

I’ve only reviewed one other Brewery Ommegang beer on this site before and I enjoyed it very much. I’ve had several other of their beers and I really dig what they do. This beer is part of the Ommegang’s Specialty Beer Release series. The idea is basically to give the brewers freedom to create new and interesting beer. Cup O Kyndnes is no different as the bottle says it is a “traditional Belgian-style Scotch Ale.” When I first read over that I thought they were lying. I never heard of a Belgian0style Scotch Ale, let alone a traditional one. After some research, I found that they were not fibbing.

This Cooperstown, New York creation pours a nice brown to ruby color and has a light tan head. The head of this beer is quite fluffy as well, which seems to be common for 750 ml corked bottles. The nose has a nice, rich malt character to it, which is pretty complex. There is no heat but there is some herbal notes, I picked up a heather odor.

On the first taste I was surprised by the smokey character to this beer. It has a wonderful malty body and a very earthy character. I don’t know if some of the malt was smoked in peat moss like an Scottish whiskey, but it had that type of flavor. It was also account for some of the earthy feel to this beer. I did not get any heat, but at 6.6% ABV I’m not surprised by that at all.

I was very happy with this beer overall. It is very well balanced and subtle with its flavors. Unlike a lot of beers which try to showcase one particular ingredient, this one was not aggressive on any front, but everything mixed well. If you like Scottish style beers, this one should be right up your alley. (more…)