Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brewery Ommegang Tasting

All the beers

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Brewery Ommegang tasting at The Pub last night. Along with some old favories like Duvel, Rare Vos, Hennepin, and Three Philosophers I got to try a few beers I haven't had before.

Bière De Mars

Although I've tasted Ommegedon, I've never had Brewery Ommegang's other bret offering, Bièr de Mars. I found this to be more balanced that Ommegedon with a stronger bret flavor and a slight sour note to balance. I suspect the Ommegedon had not sufficiently aged and the brewery representative verified this when he pointed out they had been having trouble getting the aging right. Overall a good beer. Not the best funky farmhouse ale I've had but I'd drink it again.

Triple Perfection

One of the limited release beers on hand was Brewery Ommegang's first foray into triples. The six bottles at the tasting were the only ones available in southwest Ohio so it was great to have the opportunity to try it. A very nice triple with a warm fusel finish. Fairly hoppy with some nice malt notes. Quite light on the esters which is a shame as I would have preferred a little more banana note in this beer. Overall it was quite tasty. I don't suspect I'll get another one unless it moves into full production but I would drink it again if the price was right.


Three Philosophers

I had to mention the Three Philosophers as it is always in my top 5 favorite beers and frequently makes number 1 on the list. It did not disappoint. I think this is one of the most unique and tastiest beers on the commercial market and at a retail of about $8 for a 750ml, it's a great value. The brewery representative said he prefers it aged further and recently tried a 2005 which he believes is the best beer they've made so far.


A the Zuur. Another limited release with only one case making it to this part of Ohio. This is quite possibly the best commercial sour beer I've ever had. Brewery Ommegang continues it's tradition of making unique but unquestionably Belgian beers. This one is a blend of a sour Flemish brown ale and a kriek style sour ale. The acidity is bright and pleasant but without overwhelming. The cherry sits in the background where it belongs, lending a nice fruit flavor without contributing any sweetness like you would see in a lambic which had cherry syrup added. The malt takes the edge off the sour and the hop is barely noticeable. This is a sour beer for the uninitiated and the sour beer fanatic alike. One of the waitresses serving at the event tried all the beers even though she pointed out that she does not like beer. She loved the Zuur. Everyone should get some of this if they can. I believe the brewery is currently sold out but some of you in NY might find this at your local store and you should definitely buy a bottle or two. I hope this gets re-released or becomes part of their regular offerings.

A great time with great beer and great people. It was a small enough even where I got to spend quite a bit of time talking to the brewery rep and the local distributor. Thanks for hosting a great event!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Citra Pale Ale tasting

It's finally time for the first citra pale ale tasting. It's only been a week since bottling but it's been warm so I expected adequate carbonation. I forgot to take pictures of the pour so I'll update this post next time I open a bottle.

Citra Pale Ale
Appearance: A slightly brownish amber, a little darker than I would have liked by about 5 SRM. Quite clear but not exactly crystal. The head poured fairly large but quickly fell to a quarter inch and stayed there for the remainder of the session.

Aroma: Definitely and American hop beer. A blast of citrus is the immediate impression. Not really a defined citrus fruit, just a brightness that hints at some acidity. Pineapple is also quite prevalent as I expected from what I've read about citra. There is a slightly spicy not in the background but it is barely noticeable. I'm also getting some hints of honey in the back of the nose.

Taste: Hoppy not but overly so; distinctly a pale ale and not an IPA. It's a pleasant hop with most of the same citrus and honey notes in the back of the palette. The spice is a little more prevalent however. There's a slight sweetness but it isn't overly malty. The biscuit flavor that was so strong when flat has fallen to the background. It is still quite noticeable after the flavor fades off the front palette but it doesn't dominate.

Mouthfeel: A fairly light to medium bodied beer, perfect for a warm August night  with some burgers and salad. Carbonation is a bit low but that's expected after only a week. I suspect in a couple more it will be pickley and above average which is right where I'd like it.

Drinkability:  Light and refreshing, this beer teases with a pleasant sweetness but isn't overly malty or sugary. Much like a good martini contains just enough vermouth to acknowledge the existence of France, there's enough of the pineapple and honey aroma to trigger a desire for desert without substituting for it.