Ommegang Brewery is located in Cooperstown, New York. (That’s the same place the Baseball Hall of Fame is located.) I’ve seen their giant and distinctive bottles in most of my regular beer shopping places – I’ve just never tried any of their stuff.
I decided to grab one of the 5.1% ABV bottles of Ommegang Witte for a couple of reasons. One, its the beer I purchased for Neil who was the crushing winner of The Brew Club’s March Madness contest awhile back. Neil reported back that the beer was delicious.
Second, another member of The Brew Club (who shall go un-named) actually visited the Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown recently and also reported that the Witte was a wonderful beer. I wouldn’t know because no samples were brought to me, but that’s cool Melissa. 😉
So, I went out and bought one for myself. Let’s see if Ommegang Witte really is “Worth the wheat!” (That’s on the label, BTW)
The Ommegang Witte is a Belgian-style wheat (white) ale complete with ‘traditional spices’ which typically means coriander and that orange flavor. If you’ve had Hoegaarden, or to a lesser extent the Shock Top, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Interestingly enough, Ommegang is part of the Duvel family, so they at definitely have a connection to the source.
Before we begin, listen to this noise on the label. “Its light body, frothy head, and quenching taste blend coriander, sweet orange peel and unmalted wheat into a flavor as bright and soft as summer clouds over a Flanders field.”
I was half expecting to read something about unicorn tears and secret pixie dust in the mix, but they stopped short at Flanders field – which just seems weird. I know, off topic.
The beer looks to be unfiltered as it is cloudy straw color. There was noticeable sediment lying at the bottom of the bottle, and this time I tried not to disturb it too much in an effort not to get it in the beer glass. A recent bottle of Cooper’s Sparkling Ale had a bunch of yeast sediment in it and I mixed it up in a big way! If you mix the sediment into the beer and end up drinking it you’re not going to hurt yourself, but it might change the taste of the beer a bit. (Thanks Professor!)
I took my time and needed to pour the Witte three times to fill my testing glass. The Witte poured a very foamy and white head that lazily dissipated, and at the same time I was trying to be mindful of not disturbing the sediment too much..
The smell is recognizable to me, as I mentioned previously if you’ve had a Hoegaarten, you’ll catch my drift and not find it surprising. Still, I love this style of beer – it has such a welcoming and refreshing sweet aroma mixed with some citrusy and/or fruity smells too.
Taste came as no shock either as it mostly mimics the smell. You do however, pick up the spices more in the taste than you do in the scent. I think the Witte was more on the coriander side – while there was less of an orange or citrus taste than I had expected. It has a light body that was crisp and refreshing, a really good beer for Summertime and has a nice citrusy ‘pop’.
I’m not a pro at this style of beer and I’ve mentioned the two other examples I’ve had. Of the three, I think the Hoegaarten is better overall, but there is nothing wrong with this brew from Ommegang and I would get it again especially for the hot summer months ahead.
What’s your favorite beer in this style?