Tuesday, July 28, 2009

28. Ommegang Witte

The Ommegang Brewery is located in Cooperstown, NY, which, in case you didn’t know, is also the home of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. It is coincidentally the hometown of James Fenimore Cooper as well—Cooperstown is named after his family—but something tells me that La Longue Carabine doesn’t draw the tourist trade like the chance to look at George Brett’s famous overly-pine tarred bat. I know, I know, the cruelties of American culture that make us choose baseball over American literary history. But for those of you who are hardy and obdurate followers of the literary tribulations of one James Fenimore Cooper, I’ll send you here to see what Mark Twain had to says about Cooper and we can call it even. I would like to also throw some props to Ommegang for locating themselves where they did—you don’t think they pick up some extra visitors from all the traffic traipsing through Cooperstown, whether from baseball fanatics or bibliophiles? Damn straight they do. I only wish I liked Belgian beers as much as I do now when I ventured through Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame game in about 2001. Stupid immature beer palate.

Ommegang Witte opens with a nose composed of a careful balancing of clove, citrus, spiciness, and light fruity esters. It is a cloudy vibrant straw color with a light white head. Starting with effervescent citrusy and fruity flavors, Ommegang Witte moves into wheat malt sweetness in the middle and finishes bright and spicy with a touch of bitterness and tartness. It is light bodied with a fresh crispness in the mouthfeel from the lively carbonation. Overall, a clean, crisp, and delicious beer that is very thirst quenching—Ommegang Witte screams summer drinking like a sun tea fresh from the back porch or a mint julep garnished right from the garden. How’s that for a heavy-handed metaphor? Uncas be with you, indeed.

From Ommegang’s website: “Ommegang Witte is our take on a Belgian-white, or Witbier. Adhering closely to traditional ingredients and flavor profiles, Witte proved its worth at the 2008 World Beer Cup by capturing Silver in its category amongst the best in the world. Initially the first Ommegang beer available on draft, Witte is now featured as the Summer Seasonal in our featured-seasonal draft rotation. Though available for year-round enjoyment in 750 ml and 12 oz bottles, summer is the ideal time to enjoy a Witte draft at your favorite warm weather, draft beer destinations.

Imagine...High, white, fluffy summer clouds. A soft breeze through a citrus grove. A heavenly bite of orange chiffon cake. All of these come to your mind as you lift our pale golden wheat ale to your lips. It's so soft, so light on your tongue, you think, as the tart lemon, bitter orange, and subtle spiciness of coriander arrive to round out the intriguing delicacy of this delicious ale. You smile, knowing you have more in the fridge.

Witte is brewed with malted and unmalted wheat, barley malt, a light hops addition and spiced with sweet orange peel and coriander. Though adding a slice of citrus fruit is common while enjoying a wheat or Wiess beer, we feel that Witte's gentle spicing and slight tartness renders the fruit superfluous. Here's to Summer..."

ABV: 5.1%


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