Aromas of raisins and complex esters first greet the nose when tasting the Ommegang beer. Dark copper in color, its clarity is determined by how well the pourer coaxes the liquid out of the bottle and leaves the solid residue of bottle-conditioning behind. The full-bodied brew has a big mouthfeel even before all of the malt and yeast-derived flavors assault the tastebuds. The malty flavors are well-blended and linger long into the finish, leaving behind a hint of alcohol and strong memories. Released in late 1998, the Hennepin is described as a Grisette farmhouse ale. A lighter-bodied 7.5% brew, the smooth ale offers more mellow aromatic esters along with more subtle complexities in the hoppy flavor. 2000 saw the introduction of Rare Vos Brabant Ale. At 6.5 %, this very hazy amber brew exudes an estery/spicy aroma to go with its medium-bodied, full-flavored tangy character. The carbonation combines with the light spiciness to taunt the palate while the subtle hops join with estery flavors to produce an overall dry flavor impression well into the finish.
Reasonably priced and widely distributed, these leading offerings from the Brewery Ommegang, built in 1997, are creating converts to full-flavored beer across the US.
on the River Road
Reviewed by Tom Ciccateri - April 1998 & November 2000
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