The tag line for Brewery Ommegang is "Belgian brewing in America." And so it is.
Ommegang, located in the baseball mecca of Cooperstown, N.Y., is best known for its Hennepin saison and Abbey Ale, two Belgian-style beers it brews to perfection. Hennepin is justifiably regarded by many as a world-class beer.
Saison is among my favorite styles: typically light in color, yeasty and flavorful. It's a perfect summer beer.
One can find Hennepin in Durango; Star Liquors, I believe, stocks it in 12-ounce bottles. I picked up a beautiful 25.4 ounce bottle at Distil, a new liquor store and deli in Farmington, N.M. The bottle had a cork-and-cage top that indicated this wasn't an ale to be trifled with.
Hennepin pours a beautiful golden color with a big, fizzy head that recedes quickly, almost like a soda. It's fairly boozy at 7.7 percent ABV.
Saison is a tough style to master - plenty of American saisons fall short. Among Durango brewers, only Carver's has recently tackled the style with its Saison de Tour, released earlier this summer to coincide with the Tour de France. I enjoyed the taste, but felt Carver's version was lacking in texture and carbonation.
In contrast, Hennepin's carbonation is just perfect. It's bottle-conditioned, and tiny bubbles hang around to remind you of the brewer's mastery.
Hennepin tastes wonderful, and it's eminently drinkable considering its relatively high alcohol content. Hennepin was a perfect complement to a hot August day.
Now is the perfect time to drink Hennepin, while it's still summer. It pairs especially well with pasta, salads, fish and chicken. Grab a bottle before fall sets in. A
(Photo via flickr)