It’s autumn, it’s the baseball post season, and thoughts turn to Cooperstown and the Hall of–wait a minute–my thoughts turn to beer, and Cooperstown’s Brewery Ommegang has been one of my favorites for years. Now Cooperstown comes to Nanuet with a tasting at Growler & Gill. Mind you, I’d be delighted to visit the brewery in the fall . . . or any other time.
Since Ommegang is famous for its Belgian styes, Nirvana is a change of pace. So what do we get? Slightly hazy rose gold with a generous–if brief–white head. It starts with a nose of piney hops with citrus over light malt. It shows much more biscuity malt on the palette but still with plenty of hops, nicely balanced. Lingering restrained hops flow through the finish, fairly bitter but with a hint of honey. 6.5% ABV
Now we move to classic Belgian, very hazy straw with a moderate to generous foamy white head. The aroma is yeasty with lots of banana & peach, then comes a lovely estery mouthful, silky, with light effervescence. A little hop bite leads the finish, then a light sweetness. More than satisfactory! 5.2% ABV
Grains of Truth
Apparently this is the same recipe as last years Scythe & Sickle, which wasn’t especially memorable. It’s amber with a fairly generous white head. The nose is light malt with a hint of caramel. There is more flavor than suggested by the nose with lots of bready malt. The finish is light with a touch of banana. Maybe it suffers by following Witte, but really there’s not much going on. 5.8% ABV
This is a Quadrupel described as “98% ale with 2% ale with cherries added.” It’s dark garnet in the glass with a medium fine-grained yellowish head. There’s a rich liqueur nose with lots of dark fruit, yeast, and dark malt with a hint of sourdough. The first sip is a mix of brandy and port, followed by a silky foamy mouthfeel with tangy banana over caramel malts and a pervasive cognac highlight. Lots of malt supports ongoing black cherry with spicy hops in the background. The finish is smooth, fruity and quiet with nice biscuit malt. 9.7% ABV
Described as “Ale with spices: Grains of paradise, ginger, coriander and sweet orange peel,” this pours hazy golden straw with a big fizzy white head. The aroma is spicy and yeasty with an herbal tang. On the palette, spices play tag with hops and there’s a strong presence of “botanicals” like a good gin. Crackery malt carries all of this and continues into a gentle finish as hops dry out the end. This almost defines “saison” for me, the mix of varied spices, herbs and malts. 7.7% ABV
Brewery Ommegang and HBO are partnering on a series of beers inspired by the critically-acclaimed drama Game of Thrones. Launching ahead of the season 3 debut . . . Iron Throne, a blonde ale, is the inaugural beer in the series and the result of a creative collaboration between Brewmaster Phil Leinhart and HBO.
The first of the Game of Thrones series, and the only one I had not had before, so “Thank you!” for releasing it again. This pours straw with a generous white head supported by ample effervescence. It has a nice Belgian nose of yeast, bananas and hops with plenty of crackery malt underneath. The flavor is fairly light but complex with citrus and peach esters, spicy hops and a varied malt backbone. The finish takes these and adds enough hops to firm things up. Never sweet, things end even a bit drier. 6.5% ABV
It’s black all right, with a big head of big dark tan bubbles. Starts with chocolate & coffee on a very light nose with a slight chemical note. As the beer warms, that note becomes smoky wood. Bitter flavor like very dark espresso with very dark chocolate, with almost a burnt note. The finish smooths right out and the harshness ebbs away leaving pleasant cocoa and roasty malt. This seems to be the weakest of the five GoT beers so far, but definitely don’t drink it too cold. 7% ABV