Yesterday, we went to a beer dinner. This one was unique in a few ways. The Ommegang brewery representative, Matt, wanted a more informal setting. There were no seats, just tables to stand around. The courses were small and some of them didn’t even require utensils, although I really could have used a fork when my chicken tacos fell apart. And, there weren’t beer samples. Instead each attendee received a bottle of each beer. We’re talking 5 courses and 5 bottles of beer. The price…$35. Matt told us that he wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth. At $35, we definitely did, and then some.
Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, New York produces Belgian style beers in America. What does that mean? Among other things, it means they use a very particular strain of Belgian yeast. Belgian yeast brings a sort of funkiness to each beer. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Belgian beers for this very reason. The funk tends to overpower the other flavors which leads to Belgians having a flavor all their own.
For those of you who enjoy the American Wit beer, you may think this beer will have huge hits of orange peel and coriander. While Ommegang uses those flavors in the brewing process, they are not the key player and are overpowered by the funky Belgian yeast. This beer probably was my favorite of the Ommegangs offered at the beer dinner (Witte, BPA, Hennepin, Abbey Dubbel, Three Philosophers). Honestly, for the most part, I find wits to be either underwhelming or over-coriandered. The funkiness really helped this beer have a unique flavor, while still being an easy drinker. This is a really nice summer beer that offers something different than an American wheat or wit. I highly recommend giving one a try the next time you are hanging out on your patio, playing cornhole, or mowing the lawn.