Friday, 2 January 2015

12 Beers Of Xmas - Day 9

The Twelve Beers Of Christmas
Beer Nine
Brewery Ommegang - Abbey Ale 8.2%

I put myself through this every year, but still I never learn.

I don't know about you but I often find, as I did today, that the second day of the new year is the hardest day of them all on which to get up. The inevitable late night of New Years Eve, which in reality was yesterday morning leads to a quieter day on New Years Day, but the very next morning it's business as usual and you're expected to be bright and breezy and full of the joy and expectation of a brand new year. In reality however your body clock is all over the place because, even if you felt responsible enough to go to bed early the night before, you found you couldn't sleep so had to get up and do something else for a bit. When finally you collapse into bed exhausted it only seems like twenty minutes before the alarm goes off, it's six o'clock in the morning and you have to get up to go work when every single cell in your body is screaming "NO!!!!!!".

Perhaps it's just me.

Today's beer is from Brewery Ommegang founded in 1997 in Cooperstown, New York, a brewery that specialises in Belgian beer styles. Home to the Baseball Hall Of Fame, Cooperstown was also the centre of US hop production in the nineteenth century (it grew the hops that produced Anheuser-Bush Budweiser) and still has a 20 acre hop farm located just outside the town.

The brewery was sold to Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat in 2003, and in 2006 the parent brewery in Breendonk, Belgium brewed some beer under the Ommegang name in order to meet demand, although it has not brewed any since. Incidentally, Duvel Moortgat has picked up a number of well known breweries in recent years, including Brasserie d'Achouffe in 2006, De Koninck Brewery in 2010, and Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company in 2013.

Ommegang brews six ales full time: Hennepin, a Saison; Rare Vos, a Belgian-style Amber Ale; Ommegang Witte, a white ale; BPA, a Belgian-style Pale Ale dry hopped with Cascade; Three Philosphers, of which I have a bottle hidden away, a Belgian-style Quad with an authentic Kriek blended in; and tonight's beer, Ommegang Abbey Ale, a classic Belgian-style Dubbel.

Should you wish to know more about the brewery and it's beers then you can follow this link to its website however I'm keen to get the bottle open, I have had it for three years after all, so that's what I'm going to do.

Choosing the appropriate glassware first, the brewery recommends either a goblet or a chalice, it pours a very dark brown with some ruby red highlights and a soft off-white head. The aroma, well, the aroma is something else. It's thick with stone fruits at first, there's plums, dates and apricots soaked in cherry brandy, a caramelised sugar bitter-sweetness, some red wine tannins, brown bread crusts and some rum and raisin fudge, it's simply astonishing. Super smooth, like having your tongue caressed by a velvet cushion with a light tickle of carbonation rising to the roof of the mouth like the gentle foam of the tide lazily scrubbing the shore, the taste is every bit as good as you might imagine. There's a blast of plum and date, sweet and tart and generously laced with that cherry brandy I picked up in the aroma, this mixes with some almond to give a pronounced 'cherry bakewell' flavour before in comes that brown sugar, only it's not burnt at all but lightly caramelised muscavado, soft, sweet and delicious, but someone has cleverly added a few drops of molasses to help in all slide down superbly. The finish echoes with all of these flavours, maybe with the addition of a few drops of drinking chocolate, minus the milk, just for good measure however it's those stone fruit flavours, and that marvellous cherry brandyness that lingers wonderfully for a long long time.

I don't really think I need to add any more, so I won't. If you want me then you'll know where to find me, I'll be right here with this beer for some time to come.

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