Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hennepin Farmhouse Saison Ale

Beer: Brewery Ommegang's
Hennepin Farmhouse Ale

Brewery Location: Cooperstown, NY
Beer Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 7.7%

Where to start on this. First, I will give you a little background on the farmhouse/saison style. It started in the French speaking part of Belgium a very long time ago. Before refrigeration this beer was made in late autumn and winter and was consumed during the harvest season of next years crop. The word saison literally means "season" in French. It was very low alcohol at the time and workers drank the beer in the fields during the harvest since it was sterile and easily portable, and at the time water was not. According to Wikipedia the style almost died out, but has experienced a huge revitalization both in Belgium and in the U.S. (Particularly the U.S.) The beers tended to be very refreshing and very low alcohol, as to not incapacitate the workers.

I've really liked the offerings from Brewery Ommergang that I've had the pleasure of tasting. I know the brewery is actually now owned by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat who are the makers of Duvel. It's a very smart move on their part, and I am sure very profitable. Regardless of who owns the brewery this is an exceptional offering.

I let the bottle warm a bit before pouring. The bottle has a cork in it, and once you get it off the bottle you can smell a very inviting fruity scent. The beer pours a beautiful golden straw hue with a dense cloudy interior and a huge billowy white head. You can also notice a massive amount of yeast in the bottle from the bottle conditioning. The nose is fruity, spicy, bready, and bit hoppy. The taste is very refreshing with fresh fruit flavorings coming to the palate including apples and lemon with a certain earthy graininess coming to the back of the palate, and a sweet malt profile makes itself known as the beer warms a little more. Very complex on the palate, but overall very satisfying taste. The mouthfeel is interesting due to the high carbination in the beer. Very refreshing and inviting in the mouth, and it doesn't leave a very heavy coat in your mouth. The drinkability is great for this offering. Perfect to share with someone over a meal or just by yourself.

This is a great offering from Ommegang. This farmhouse ale is so satisfying and well made. I would rather see this at a dinner party than wine. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone.

4.2 out of 5


CorrND said...

"I would rather see this at a dinner party than wine."

So few people think about beer-food pairing compared to wine-food pairing. That's really sad, because beer is a fantastic addition to any meal!

The restaurant industry is really terrible about this. They like to push the notion that fine dining should only be accompanied by wine. It's probably because the margins are larger on wine, or that diners accept the outrageous margins on wine and would not on beer.

As it is right now, you've almost got no choice but to eat bar food if you want to drink craft beer with a meal. That's pretty sad.

Matt said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Perception is still that beer is for the blue collar drinker. Wine = classy beer=working mans beverage of choice.

Some resturants are changing the perception for some people, but those are few right now.

Most resturants will charge you a corking fee if you want to bring in a special bottle of wine if they don't offer it. I wonder what kind of reaction you would get if you tried to bring in some Westy at a classy restaurant.