Cellaring Beers: Ommegang (Belgian style abbey ale) At 8 Years From our “Vault”
Date: February 25, 2018
The Story— A pair of beer distributors opened Ommegang Brewery in 1997 in Cooperstown, New York, with an ambitious plan of bringing Belgian beer to America without a ship. They received critical advice from the Moortgat brewery in Breedonk, Belgium. By 2006 it had grown to the point at which Moortgat (Duvel) took it over. The Moortgat empire has since grown to include Boulevard in Kansas City and Firestone Walker in California. Even before Mootgat’s actual ownership, the brewery brewed very Belgian tasting beers at a faction of the cost of imports.
The Beer— Ommegang’s first beer, the Belgian Abbey is a double style strong dark ale featuring a blend of spices that are on a pretty short leash. Deep dark fruits in aroma and taste. The taste includes berry fruit and hints of chocolate. It’s certainly aged, but it’s interesting and still viable. The brewery says to drink it fresh, but also provides instructions on how to lay it down. Belgian Monks we’ve talked to said that a good dubbel can improve for at least three years and be very good at five. The 8 years here is a stretch. I’d like to try this at half the age, but still, it’s pretty remarkable for 8 years in a warm room. Ellie’s notes – drier (attenuated sugars), dark fruit juices, some woody tang shows age.
Value — Good to very good. Ommegang was one of the best bargains in the country it its early years, but the price has edged up. It’s still a bargain if you can find a retail outlet that doesn’t put a “Belgian” premium on its markup.
Values: “fair” is a good beer at an above market price, “good” is worth the money, “very good” is a bargain, and “excellent” is a steal.