As Brewery Ommegang continues to expand, it turns out a big, bold, and highly drinkable lineup comprising complex Belgian-style beers. Unlike many of the newer craft brewers, it favors highly carbonated “bright” beers, mostly sold in heavy 750ml bottles from Europe, which makes them perfect for aging or drinking fresh. We talked with Larry Bennett, Communications Director at Brewery Ommegang, to learn what Ommegang has in store for this fall.
Are there any seasonal brews in the works and when will they be released?
Our autumn seasonal, Scythe & Sickle was just released. It’s a 6.4 percent ABV amber ale with barley, wheat, oats, and rye. It’s available in four-packs and on draft.
Our winter seasonal, Adoration Ale, releases in the next week or two. It’s a dark, strong Belgian-style winter ale, 10 percent ABV, lots of spices, dark, and malty. It comes in four-packs and on draft, and it is a big, bold sipping beer.
I know you all are expanding. How much does Ommegang brew in a year?
This year we will brew about 55,000 barrels. Next year we plan on 65-70,000. A barrel is 31 gallons.
Why put your beers in the warm cellar? What effect does that have on the beer?
All of our bottled Belgian-style ales are re-fermented in the bottle, also known as bottle-conditioning. The beer is dosed with a small shot of yeast and sugar before it’s closed up. The yeast eats that sugar in the bottle and carbonates the beer naturally. It may have a tiny effect on bumping alcohol, but not a lot. It’s about getting the high carbonation that makes big Belgian beers so drinkable, regardless of the beer style. Beers dosed with Brettanomyces yeast re-ferment more slowly than our house yeast. The cellar is kept warm to allow the yeast to do its work. At colder temperatures it may slow down or even stop.
What are the newest brews coming out of Ommegang?
We just released Wild at Heart, a 9 percent all-wild yeast golden ale available only in 750ml bottles. It’s a limited edition beer that we make in small quantities. We also recently released Take the Black Stout, a 7 percent stout brewed in collaboration with HBO’s Game of Thrones. It is available in 750ml and on draft. It’s a big stout; it’s dark and roasty with touches of anise and licorice spicing.
Get a taste of Brewery Ommegang beers at this weekend’s Brooklyn Pour event!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2013