By Julia Burke, Beer Editor
In honor of the beloved upcoming beer festival Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, I decided to ease the pain of missing the event (not that I’m complaining—I’ll be in Asheville, NC, which is apparently the new beer Mecca of the eastern United States) with a Brewery Ommegang brew.
This “Belgian pale ale” sounded like a great idea, and boy, did the initial pour confirm that thought. A delightful, three-finger poufy head with impressive lacing and a brilliant orange with a hint of haze made this one classy-looking brew. Clean citrus dominates on the nose, rushing from the glass, with a touch of spice-and-clover yeast character and fresh-mowed-lawn hops.
The palate is well-carbonated and invitingly zesty, with lively acidity and a burst of tropical fruit. A taut, grassy hop presence, courtesy of Cascade dry-hopping, balances the sweetness of the fruit and the round, “bubbly” quality (I mean Tracy-Turnblad-from-Hairpsray bubbly rather than effervescent, though it’s plenty fizzy) of the vivaciously spicy yeast, and on the finish the components assemble into a delicious group hug.
What I like about this is the way the components balance one another. There’s enough here lupulin-wise for hopheads looking for a fix, a yummy and unmistakeable Belgian yeast character, and unwavering heights of citrusy sweetness.
Whether you’re craving the brewery’s classic Belgian flare or a hoptastic summer pale, on a summer night with some Port Salut cheese and wheat crackers, this hits the spot.
Producer: Brewery Ommegang
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Stemware: 12 oz. Belgian goblet
Sample size: 12 oz. bottle