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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…)

Interesting beer bottles

Whenever I got to the beer store I generally have an idea of what I am looking for. Be it a particular style, beer, or brewery, I usually know what I am going to get. The thing is, once I actually get to the store, it is anyone’s guess as to what I actually come out with. I am sure I am an advertisers dream because I get caught up in things that catch my eye. The other problem I have is that I might know exactly what I want, but that doesn’t stop me from taking a look around to get some ideas for next time.

One of the biggest things that can throw me off of a game plan is an interesting looking bottle. If there is a bottle in the display case that is different than your typical 12 or 22 oz bottle, chances are I am going to take a second look at it. If I know my brain properly, the reason behind this is two fold; if the bottle is special the beer must be as well and “that’s different, I like it, I have to own it.” There are plenty of great looking bottles out there from craft brewers and imports alike.

My first taste of Anchor Steam came becasue I thought the bottles were interesting looking. The same goes with Duvel and dozens of other beers. If a brewery has a unique bottle, chances are I will pick it up. I also tend to hold onto the interesting bottles. My partner in brewing crime, Pete, had a nice collection of bottles when we were in college. We kept one bottle of every kind of beer that we drank. The most prized bottles in the collection were those that were unique. I never had a big collection of bottles, I mainly just contributed to Pete’s but I do have a small collection of special bottles. Right now my favorite is the ceramic bottle that I have from Rogue Ales. I’ve never seen a ceramic beer bottle other than those from Rogue. Anyone else out there a sucker from something that looks special?