Ommegang Hennepin- A Reader Recommendation

24Jun10

Brewery Ommegang- Hennepin

And now, for my first ever “Reader Recommendation” review!  I’m not sure if you’ve heard about Brewery Ommegang.  It’s a craft brewery in Cooperstown, NY and I’ve had a few of their beers before, but never the Hennepin.  I’ve always been quite happy with the bottles I’ve cracked open in the past, so I was glad when Doug recommended this one.

First off, notice in the picture that this is no wimpy 12oz bottle of beer.  Oh no, Ommegang is serious.  This baby is a beautifully corked 25.4oz bottle, which nicely fills two pint glasses after the creamy head is factored in.  Neat!  This is a beer you can take to a BYO instead of a bottle of wine.

The neck of the bottle calls Ommegang’s Hennepin a “true Belgian-style Saison.”  In fact, Ommegang might be US based, but its roots are in Brussels, and if you take some time to peruse their website, you will see that these people are SERIOUS about their beer.  And they know what they’re talking about, which is definitely inspiring confidence in me as I pop this cork.

While I’m pouring, read up, you’ll be glad you did.

http://www.ommegang.com/index.php?mcat=1&scat=3&yr=1

Take your time because this beer is so lovingly crafted that it comes with pouring instructions on the side of the bottle.  “Pour slowly so as to not disturb the yeast sediment, but with enough vigor to create a luxurious head and release the rich bouquet.”

Point one- I agree!  The head on this beer is silky and luxurious.  It’s quite creamy and lingers as long as I do, but once I can’t resist any longer and have to take a sip, so disappears the beautiful head.  I’m also a little surprised by how light in color the beer is.  Maybe it’s the dark glass bottle, but I was not expecting to see the light caramel color that came out when I poured it.  It rather looks like a creamy butterscotch.

Now, I’m not sure that I’d call this a “rich bouquet” on the nose, but it could be that I’m sitting outdoors as I write this.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps the pollen and various other outdoor elements are taking away from its richness, but I smell no bouquet.  I smell bitter, hopsy Corona.  Eh, I like Corona and I like hops.  Let’s give this baby a try.

Wow.  There is a lot going on in one sip.  This beer is effervescent, and complex, and yet the finish is rustic, earthy.  Let me clarify.  There IS a finish!  This is not one of those beers that dies on your tongue, which you know I complain about all the time.  No, instead it’s bitter on the finish with a definitively earthy feel.

This is a beer that really multi-tasks.  Definitely not a session beer at 7.7%ABV, but the crisp, refreshing, hoppiness is a blessing on a hot day.  And yet, the darker color and complexities of flavor would also make it pleasurable during the cooler months.

The bottle describes this as a Saison Farmhouse Ale, which I had reviewed a few weeks ago from a different brewery.  This is what I love about craft beer.  Same style, totally different drinking experience.  There is no fruit in this beer (but if Jasen were here, I’m sure he would find some after effects lingering in there somewhere- he always does), just the building blocks of good beer: water, yeast, hops, malt.  You can taste each in its glory, and yet together they are harmonious.

Good job Ommegang!

Let me make sure that I acknowledge for anyone thinking of trying this beer that it IS bitter on the finish.  It might be a bit much for those of you who are just breaking in your craft beer palates, but if you’re a bolder beer drinker, please give this one a try.

I also love their Rare Vos which is an Amber and their Witte, but I wasn’t as much a fan of their Ommegang or the Three Philosophers.  I would say though that Ommegang has something for every palate, and if you’re ever in Cooperstown, you should stop by for a visit.  I might even plan a trip AROUND the brewery.

Yep, I said it.  It’s that good.

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3 Responses to “Ommegang Hennepin- A Reader Recommendation”

  1. I’ve actually been there. C.J. and I did a trip to Cooperstown last summer, but we toured a different brewery while we were there, the Cooperstown Brewery, which didn’t provide much interest aside from the tasting after the tour. We stopped by Ommegang on our way out of town but didn’t have time to linger, which was a shame because it looked so much nicer than the other one.

  2. I really enjoyed your review. Can’t wait to get my hands on this brew and try it myself.


  1. 1 Light and Unsatisfying

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