Like a handful of other premium American craft breweries, Brewery Ommegang brews Belgian-style ales exclusively, doing so with proprietary yeast strains. The brewery is located on a 136-acre farm near Cooperstown, N.Y., in an area that was known for its hop production throughout the 19th century. Founded here in 1997 and fully acquired by Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat brewery in 2003, Ommegang has garnered significant recognition for its Abbey- and Trappist-style ales. Here we highlight two recent releases. (www.ommegang.com)
Duvel Rustica is Brewery Ommegang’s debut Belgian golden ale, produced in close partnership with Duvel Moortgat, whose classic white-label golden ale is one of Europe’s most popular beers and is a draft staple of any serious American beer tavern. Released last fall in limited quantities, Duvel Rustica is a near clone of the classic Duvel, utilizing a grain bill heavy with pilsner malts and hopped with aromatic Styrian Goldings. Brewery Ommegang varies the Duvel recipe by using its own yeast strain for primary fermentation. The end result is a yellow-golden beer with great clarity, a frothy white head, and sprightly effervescence. It is dry and sweet on the nose, with almost lager-like esters and hints of lemongrass. The somewhat malty presentation on the palate balances these bright aromas with rich, slightly earthy notes that include flavors of banana and apricot as well as the rustic, farm-style yeast from which the beer derives its name. The Duvel Rustica is decidedly Belgian in style and is perfect on a warm spring or summer afternoon. It pairs well with shellfish, poultry, grilled vegetables, or aged cheese.
Style: Belgian-style golden ale
Price: $12.99/750 ml
To commemorate its 15th anniversary in 2012, Brewery Ommegang released a rich Trappist-style dark ale that is indeed cause for celebration. In terms of overall character, the Ommegang XV Anniversary Ale is somewhere between a Belgian quadruple and a barley wine. Brewed with a hefty grain bill that includes Munich, Special B, Cara-Vienne, and Blackprinz specialty malts in addition to Belgian candi sugar, the XV underwent an especially long fermentation process, during which its full-bodied flavors coalesced beautifully. On the nose, the walnut-colored ale exhibits scents of raisins and other dark fruits, sweet dessert breads, and a hint of anise. Its palate presents rich, creamy flavors, with notes of molasses, caramel, toffee, and oak, and a mouthfeel that offers a smooth, syrupy viscosity. The XV is best enjoyed slowly and as a digestif after a hearty meal. It pairs well with fragrant cheese, dark or milk chocolates, or dark berries.
Style: Trappist-style dark ale
Price: $19.99/750 ml