Rare Vos from Brewery Ommegang is another Melissa supplied beer! Thanks Melissa – sorry it took so long to get to it! Melissa, if you recall, is one of The Brew Club members, and she was fortunate enough to take a tour of “Brewery Ommegang” located in Cooperstown, NY. I, on the other hand, was a fortunate recipient of this nice souvenir!
So far I’ve only had the Ommegang Witte, and while it wasn’t my favorite Weissbier of all time, I was still really impressed with it. And so I had high hopes for the Rare Vos as well.
If you aren’t aware, Brewery Ommegang is ‘part of the Duvel family of fine ales‘, so there is definitely some real Belgian lineage there. A real Belgian brewery here in America.
The Rare Vos is a Belgian-style amber ale, and it checks in at a healthy 6.5% ABV. Being bottle fermented, the label warns us to be a little careful with the pour as there is a decent amount of sediment laying around at the bottom. Hard as I try, some of it obviously gets into my glass and while the beer itself is quite clear, the pieces of sediment are big enough to see floating around.
Its pretty easy to see why this is considered an Amber Ale! Amber is the color – ’nuff said! There’s a decently foamy head, and while not too big it does hang around for a bit, and it never really disappears completely.
The aromas remind me a bit of Duvel, and if I had to guess there are probably some similarities between that Golden Ale and this Amber Ale, (perhaps the yeast?) but there is something along the lines of sweet citrus, very mild spices, and I think a bit more bready than Duval. Its hard to say exactly, but it still has that mysterious ‘Belgian’ character to it.
Taste is really along the lines of the aroma with a blend that I can best describe as subtly fruity with a nice blend of malt and just enough hop bite. Again, unidentifiable fruitiness (maybe apple, maybe orange?), bready and theres that peppery spice thing as well. Like I said, it tastes like it smells, but I’d say on a whole its dialed doen just a bit. I thought it would be more ‘Bam’ as some celebrity chef likes to say.
Still, the Brewery Ommegang Rare Vos is an easy drinker that leaves with an enjoyable peppery citrus aftertaste and I think it would make a super BBQ beer. I don’t know why, but here in February I’m thinking about cooking out and this beer would go great with a steak, ribs or a nice burger.
So, what do I think of the Rare Vos? It’s an interesting beer, and I’ll admit it was a tough one to describe for some reason, but I haven’t had too many Belgian Amber Ales either to compare it to. Maybe that’s it. Its a good beer, and like I said it would make a great BBQ beer instead of your regular fare.
That said, I’m not ga-ga about the Rare Vos either. It just didn’t push any buttons for me which is the greatest factor in my internal (and admittedly biased) rating system. If I could give this beer a 2.75 I would, but my little star system only rates by half-stars. Sometimes I round up, sometimes I round down. While I’m rounding down for this beer, if you’re into Belgian Ales, definitely give it a try because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, but you may not be thrilled either.
So, what do you think of Rare Vos? Its won a Bronze at the 2008 GABF in the French and Belgian Style Ale category. Am I missing something? What’s your favorite Ommegang brew?