Ommegang Grains of Truth

Ommegang Grains of TruthCooperstown, New York is famously known for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it’s also the perfect for location to make beer.

In the early 19th Century, Cooperstown was the epicenter of hop production. Having deep wells with high quality water, made this a brewer’s paradise. Ommegang, a Belgian Style brewery opened its doors in 1997 Ommegang, and has since been purchased by Duvel. They have continued to grow in popularity, while expanding the portfolio. Recently they have gained even more popularity with a line beers centered on HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones.

The Grains of Truth pours a bright amber color, with a thick foamy head and a fair amount of carbonation. The off-white head hangs around for a while before leaving some lacing on the glass.

On the nose, rye and spicy malts jump from the glass, followed by aromas of caramel, honey and bananas. Grainy and earthy but complex at the same time, the malty sweetness plays well with the hoppy finish.

The taste is sweeter than expected with caramel and toffee notes, but downplayed by the malts. The rye adds a nice spice that mixes with the light hops. Roasted grains add a nice medium bodied mouth feel that is extremely smooth. On the finish the alcohol shows, but does a great job of mellowing out the sweetness to really bring this brew together.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Ommegang did a great job of capturing fall into 12oz bottle.

A complex brew full of rich malts, some slightly sweet candied notes and a bitter hop quality that stands out and makes this a unique fall release. We would love to see Ommegang turn this into annual fall release, maybe another batch will come next harvest. Pairs nicely with pumpkin pie, turkey, and pad thai.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints

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Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA TripelThe Brasserie d’Achouffe is a Belgian brewery based in Achouffe, founded in 1982 by brothers-in-law Pierre Gobron and Christian Bauweraerts. Looking at the recognizable bottle, the IPA has a dwarf on the label. Bauweraerts had the idea of this logo while watching a television show where a painting representing a dwarf, was sold to raise money for victims of a local storm. He spoke about it the day after with Pierre, who said he agreed with the idea. Pierre asked a colleague’s daughter to do the drawing, and this now famous dwarf is depicted on the Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel tending to a crop of hops.

A hybrid of an English IPA and a Belgian Tripel, the beer pours a cloudy golden yellow. There is notable sediment in this one! The two finger soapy white head displays amazing retention. Once the head finally dissipates it leaves an impressive lacing behind.

On the nose notes of citrus fruit, namely grapefruit, dominate the olfactory senses. In addition there are grass, pine, tropical fruit and floral aromas with an underlying skunky note. A sweet candied sugar aroma is evident amongst notes of pale malts. A yeasty kick rounds out the bouquet.

With the first sip hoppy notes flood the palate. Grapefruit and lemon zest overwhelm at first. Then notes of pineapple, white flowers and piney resin chime in. A skunky flavor is mellowed by notes of sweet pale malts and yeast. There is a hint of clove and white pepper spice that adds another layer of flavor. This one finishes dry and slightly bitter with an almost creamy mouthfeel.

Chouffe Houblon is amazing complex! It truly is the perfect marriage between an IPA and a Belgian Tripel. This is the perfect all season anytime beer. That little dwarf has done it again! Perfect for pairing with a tangy goat cheese, mussels or beignets. 4 Out Of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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Pauwel Kwak

Pauwel KwakThe story of Pauwel Kwak, according to the brewery’s website is as follows. “In Napoleon’s time, Pauwel Kwak was a brewer and the owner of the De Hoorn inn (near Brussels). Mail coaches stopped there every day, but at that time coachmen were not allowed to leave their coach and horses, in order to have their thirst quenched along with their passengers. As a result, the inventive innkeeper had a special Kwak glass blown that could be hung on the coach. In this way, the coachman had his Kwak beer safely at hand. Today Kwak is one of the few remaining historic Belgian beers and is still served with respect for tradition in its original Kwak glass. Recognizable, special and just as idiosyncratic as the taste of the beer itself.”

The beer pours a dark amber with copper hues. The thin cream colored head dissipates rather quickly but does leave a light scattered soapy lacing both atop the beer and along the sides of the glass. The carbonation is notable but not as lively as the other Belgians tasted so far.

The nose presents with aromas of sweet malts. Cutting through the malts are fruit notes of cherry and banana. A hint of darker fruits like raisins, figs and dates mingle with caramel and nut aromas. Earthy hops and yeast notes are evident as is a vinous note of white grape.

On the palate boozy malts assert their dominance. Caramel and fruit notes of cherry and fig can be found hiding beneath the malts. A yeasty funk breaks through on the midpalate along with spicy hops and the same vinous white grape notes found in the bouquet.

Overall not a bad beer. An easy drinking Belgian strong ale that while is a little disjointed and blah is still better than two thirds of beers out there in the market place. Try pairing this with a goat’s milk blue cheese, lamb ragout or a pear and cherry tart. 3 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Pints out of 5

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Westmalle Trappist Tripel

Westmalle Trappist Tripel For almost 170 years, the Westmalle brewery has only used the purest water, malt, hops, sugar and yeast in their beers.  The Brewery has made several investments over the years with their sights set on creating the highest quality Trappist beer in the market. Westmalle’s Tripel is an excellent example of the quality they have achieved over the years.

The beer pours a hazy pale gold with light orange hues. The one finger soapy white head dissipates somewhat quickly but leaves a light lacing behind. Lively bubbles rising in the glass offer a testament to the beer’s moderate carbonation.

Aromas of wheat and yeast hit you upfront. Notes of dried stone fruits, namely apricots and white cherries, mix with a potent aroma of over ripe banana and honey. A light clove note adds complexity while citrus peel and coriander brighten the bouquet. There is also a hint of grassy and herbal hops that linger in the background from the first sniff to the last.

The palate delivers what the nose hinted at. Notes of banana and apricot are apparent while the elusive white cherry show up every now and again. A distinct spice note of coriander is highlighted by hints of white pepper and clove. Bright flavors of citrus rind lift and balance the spice. A touch of honey adds sweetness to the dry yeast and bitter grassy/herbaceous hop notes. Several of the flavors noted are akin to many European wheat beers.

Westmalle Tripel is a classic. Its complexity allows it to be crisp and refreshing yet dense and warming.  This is a terrific Trappist! Try pairing it with baked brie, prosciutto and basil wrapped shrimp or spiced orange flan. 4 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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Saint Bernardus ABT 12

Saint Bernardus ABTSaint Bernardus began brewing commercially in 1946. One of their best known and loved beers is their ABT 12 which is a Quadruple Ale. ABT is short for Abbott, the highest level in monastic culture. In reference to the beer, calling it an ABT is to say the beer is of the highest quality and only served to the most esteemed guests. The 12 refers to the degrees Plato, the Belgian system of measuring gravity. The higher the degree of Plato, the higher the alcohol content.

The beer pours a deep mahogany with reflective copper hues when viewed in the light. The three finger soapy tan head has amazing retention. Once it does finally dissipate, a moderate lacing is left behind. The carbonation, marked by the persistent rising of tiny bubbles in the glass, is certainly noticeable.

The nose opens with malty aromas that almost immediately transitions to notes of fruit. The fruit notes consist of ripe bananas, stone fruits (apricot, black cherry and plum) and dark dried fruits (raisins, figs and dates). Caramel, toffee and molasses notes add an unmistakable sweetness.

On the palate, sweet malt and yeasty bread notes form the backbone for this world class beer. Dark stone fruit and dried fruit notes of plums, black cherries, figs and raisins dance around the mouth. Sweet flavors of caramel and toffee are met by a drying note of cocoa powder. Light spice notes of coriander and clove add complexity. The finish showcases a warming boozy note. The mouthfeel is creamy and thick without being syrupy or cloying.

A great beer from St. Bernardus. This beer could easily be the standard by which all other Quadruples should be judged. A great beer for the upcoming snowy days. The perfect pair a for tangy goat cheese, rack of lamb or apple pie. 4.5 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Pints out of 5

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Corsendonk Angus Tripel

Corsendonk Angus TripelWhile the monks of Corsendonk started a brewery in 1400, the abbey was closed by an Austrian ruler in 1784. In 1906 Antonius Keersmaekers founded a secular brewery to revive the monks’ brewing traditions. Antonius’ grandson Jef now continues the family tradition of brewing award-winning abbey ales, under a license from the current owners of the abbey. Corsendonk Angus Tripel is one of the brewery’s most famed beers, and is described as an Abbey Pale Ale.

The beer pours a hazy golden color with a two and a half finger soapy white head. The head shows decent retention and leaves an ample lacing once dissipated. The moderately high carbonation level is noticeable.

Aromas of sweet malts dominate the nose. A plethora of fruit notes mingle harmoniously with the malts. Noteworthy fruit notes include stone fruits (peach and apricot), orchard fruits (apple and pear) and white grape. There are light yeast and clove spice aromas as well. Floral, grassy and earthy hops notes add another layer of complexity to the bouquet.

The palate delivers what the nose set the stage for. Sweet bready and malt notes hit first along with fruit notes of apple, pear and white grape. On the mid-palate light clove and pepper spice notes play off the fruitiness and are highlighted by an underlying yeasty component. The finish showcases floral and earthy hop notes. Despite all the flavors that indicate sweetness the beer is dry, similar to a brut champagne.

Corsendonk Angus Tripel is another great Belgian beer to add to your list of beers to try. Corsendonk over delivers with this one! A great pair for aged gouda, chicken saltimbocca or an amaretto peach torte. 4 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

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Chimay Première – Red Label

chimay premiereThe Chimay brewery was founded inside Scourmont Abbey, in the Belgian municipality of Chimay in 1862. The brewery produces widely distributed ales and a patersbier exclusively for the monks. They are known as Trappist beers because they are made in a Trappist monastery. It was the first brewery to use the Trappist Ale designation on its labels.

As with all other Trappist breweries, the beer is sold only for the financial support of the monastery and good causes. The majority of the profit from the sales are distributed to charities for community development around the region. Chimay is one of the best known Belgian breweries in the United States and their Première “red label” is one of best-selling Dubbel style beers.

The beer pours an opaque amber brown with copper hues. It shows a bit of sediment. The two finger frothy off white head has amazing retention. The head dissipates extremely slowly and leaves a light lacing. The steady stream of rising bubbles is evidence of the beer’s high carbonation level.

Aromas of sweet toasty malts leap from the glass. Notes of sweet dark dried fruits like raisins and figs intertwine perfectly with the malt notes. White grape aromas add additional sweetness while a mild yeast aroma of fruity esters add complexity. There is a hint of clove spice rounding out the bouquet.

On the palate toasty malts dominate and remain the backbone of this beer throughout. Sour cherry and dark fruit notes hit you almost immediately. On the mid-palate you get sweet marzipan and spice notes with a hint of cocoa. The finish shows a mild bitterness that balances the beer beautifully.

Chimay has Begian beer making down to a science, showing what 150 years of experience will do for you! A great classic Dubbel from a great brewery. Pair this with braised pork, roasted asparagus or cherry cobbler. 4 out of 5 Pints

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Pints out of 5

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory