Thursday, August 28, 2008

That’s as Belgian as it gets.

In preparation for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I assembled an impromptu snack plate: A wedge of Capriole herbed goat cheese, a fresh garden tomato, a cold hardboiled egg with a pinch of salt and paprika, and some of my friend John Click’s famous venison salami.

The evening’s ale of choice: Ommegang Biere de Mars, as transported to New Albany by the New Albanian Brewing Company’s Jared Williamson, who bought it while on holiday in upstate New York.

Actually, I’ve never had Ommegang Biere de Mars until tonight, and right now, I wish I had a case, maybe two. It makes me think: Which examples of Biere de Mars have I had in the past? Maybe a French example or three, one of which I dimly recall deploying with pate and cheese atop the hill in Cassell, near Poperinge, and the excellent Chouffe version that is no longer distributed.

The BJCP includes Biere de Mars as a sub-style of Biere de Garde, and that seems sensible: Amber, malty and deriving from Northern French ales, but brewed in March and perhaps not intended for cellaring. Fair enough, but what makes Ommegang’s amber ale so special is two not-so-small tweakings: Dry hopping for a wee hoppy bite, and a touch of Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, and the two taken together – drily hoppy and tart at the same time – is something so pleasing and natural that I’m ready for another.

I don’t have one. Damned fine with the snack plate, especially the spicy salami. Jared, shall we plan another New York road trip?


The Original BBC Brewmaster said...

I'm in for the NY road trip. When do we leave?

antzman said...

Damn shame that Ommegang does not release that out for broader distribution.

The Original BBC Brewmaster said...

So Mr. Antzman, sounds like you're in for a road trip too?