Eric, our tour guide
What a fantastic weekend trip. I met a fellow beer nerd in Cooperstown, NY to visit Brewery Ommegang, a Belgian-style brewery in my very own state. It was smaller than either of us expected but no less impressive. We loved it so much, we stopped by again the next day just to pick up a few more souvenirs (Cave-Aged Hennepin review to come).
Our tour guide, Eric, ran us through the brewing process and explained how our beloved Ommegang brews end up in both kegs and bottles. One thing I found extremely interesting is the difference in how they carbonate kegs vs. bottles of beer. Kegs of Ommegang brews are force-carbonated, while the vessels you find at your local beer store are bottle-conditioned. After each beer is bottled and capped, it’s stacked in a room that’s 80° or so. As Eric explained, this is a temperature that is just uncomfortable enough to make the yeast wake up from its cold slumber. For about 2 weeks, the irritated yeast, now up and hungry from hibernation, eats the sugars in the beer which creates the carbonation, giving the beer that crisp lovely feel we all know and love. So, instead of force-carbonating like they do with kegs, they utilize the yeast within the bottled beers. Fantastic!
The tour at Ommegang is free, as well as the tasting of each of their fine brews… at the tasting this weekend, we first enjoyed Witte, their Witbier (aka Belgian White). As many of you may know from reading my past posts, I’m not usually a fan of light, filtered wheat beers. Although it wasn’t my favorite of all we tried, I must say… I can see myself choosing it on a hot summer day. It really is that good. High carbonation, spicy and heavily laiden with the taste of a sweet, juicy orange, it’s a perfect choice for Summer. Do me a favor though, if you imbibe in this… FORGET THE ORANGE SLICE. You don’t need it. Thank you.
My tour partner-in-crime, chillin’ in the gift shop
What’s in store for Brewery Ommegang? Listen up beer lovers – this is big. They’re brewing their very first Pale Ale, set to arrive in Spring. I know I’m excited – “beverage-bucket-pumped, even” (for the Lizard). I was equally excited to learn from Eric that the kids at Ommegang are KegWorks fans – we sent them a care package full of fun stuff, including wares from our IITYWIMWYBMAD? line (of course, I was sporting a t-shirt just for the occasion). I’m not gonna lie – it made my day to know that they know of and dig us. They seemed almost excited to meet a KegWorks employee as I was to tour their brewery. Freaking rad.
So, coming soon (most likely tomorrow) is my review of the cave-aged Hennepin – keep an eye out. And if you get a chance to head anywhere in the vicinity of Cooperstown, NY, make sure to swing by and say “Hi” to the great folks at Ommegang.
[techtags:BEER REVIEWS, OMMEGANG, BREWERY OMMEGANG, HENNEPIN, SAISON, ABBEY ALE, WITTE, RARE VOS, CRAFT BEER]