Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.28.17: A Flight of East Coast

Ron Swarner


Our beer flight heads east for Craft Beer Crosscut 1.28.17: A Flight of East Coast.

Founded in 1997, Brewery Ommegang has been bringing Belgium to America with resounding applause. Designed with a traditional Belgian farmhouse in mind and built over a former hop farm in Cooperstown, New York, all of Ommegang’s beers are brewed with traditional Belgian ales in mind, courtesy of Belgian beer exert Don Feinberg. The company has since been acquired by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat (that’s right, Duvel’s founders), and has flourished over the past few years.

Founded by childhood friends, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory Brewing Co. officially opened its Downington, Pennsylvania doors in February of 1996. Victory’s second state of the art brewery opened in February of 2014 in Parkesburg, PA to serve fans of fully flavored beers in 37 states with innovative beers melding European traditions and technology with American creativity. Victory is one of the few breweries in the country that uses whole-cone hops exclusively — which some brewers feel gives beers a fresher, less harsh hop flavor.

Ommegang-Rosetta-Kriek-TacomaOmmegang Rosetta Kriek

5.6% ABV, 9 IBUs

Brewed and blended by Ommegang’s sister brewery Liefmans in Belgium, Rosetta combines old (aged on cherries at least three years) and young Flemish brown ale (or oud bruin) with a lively and fruity kriek, or cherry beer. The blend, which was developed by Ommegang Brewmaster Phil Leinhart, results in a complex yet refreshing mahogany-brown brew that is an intriguing interplay of tartness and sweetness.

Ommegang-Three-Philosophers-Quadrupel-TacomaOmmegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel

9.7% ABV, 19 IBUs

The quadrupel ale combines malty Belgian-style ale with Liefmans Kriek, an authentic cherry ale from Belgium. Brewery Ommegang describes the color of the beer as, “dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut … full carbonation with smooth, tan head.” The recipe combines four malts (pils, amber, caramel, and Munich) with the cherry Kriek to create a beer reminiscent of sherry or port, with a mix of dark fruit, coffee, and raisin flavors that will only intensify as the brew ages. The yeast really kicks in upon first sip, which gives the right balance of sweet and sour.

Ommegang-Hennepin-Farmhouse-Saison-TAcomaOmmegang Hennepin Farmhouse Saison

7.7% ABV, 24 IBUs

With a rich, lasting head, this dark golden ale is quite clear for a saison. It’s all about spices: grains of paradise, ginger, coriander and sweet orange peel. The smell is fruity and grassy at the same time, atypical of the usual yeasty saison scent; you can tell it’s going to be a dry beer by the aroma alone. While it is indeed dry, the Hennepin Farmhouse is slightly sharp with great lacing, and is dangerously drinkable. Take it easy with this one; it goes down smooth.

Victory-Golden-MonkeyVictory Golden Monkey

9.5% ABV, 25 IBUs

Victory Brewing Company has labeled this beer as “a magical, mystical Monkey whose golden soul glows with the wisdom of the ages.” We don’t know much about mystical monkeys, but we agree it almost glows. It’s a Belgian-style tripel ale, which means it is brewed with triple the amount of malts than typical Belgian ales. It’s a rich, fruity, profoundly flavored beer that sits lightly on the tongue.

Victory-Prima-Pils-TacomaVictory Prima Pils

5.3% ABV

Prima Pils is one of the top-rated German-style pilsners in all the land, combining zesty, lemony hops with a snappy finish. We’ve written and deleted the word “happy” about five times while writing about Victory’s Prima Pils, because, well, this beer is just so god-damn joyful. It may be a little hoppier than your standard pils, but that’s not at all a bad thing.