For all the hubbub surrounding Brewery Ommegang, I’m quite surprised that this is the first time I’ll be addressing any beer from the New York rarity. If you’re unfamiliar with the place, they specialize in bringing true, Belgian style ales to the United States. Sure, a few American breweries will toss out a tripel or a Belgian style IPA occasionally, but Ommegang only specializes in Belgians. I’ve said for quite sometime now that I’m not the biggest fan of Belgian style beers. I can find them a bit too fruity or boozy for my liking, and I’m often nonplussed by the massive presence of Belgians at local bars that couldn’t give a shit about quality beer. So I guess what I’m saying is: This is why I’ve avoided beer from Ommegang like the plague. But things are changing. I may be getting spoiled, but I’m tiring of the standard stouts and IPAs in great quantity here, so I’m trying to branch out. Surely there are Belgians worthy of my verbosity, and maybe Ommegang could take me to the dark side. My current forays into sour ales from Jolly Pumpkin and others brought me to a perfect outlier on my beer screen: the Ommegang Bière de Mars, a Belgian amber with the famous Brettanomyces bruxellensis, a wild yeast known for adding a sour touch to brews.
Wired has a really great article up today about some of the nerdiest beers on the planet (or at least the nerdiest beers they could talk brewers into sending them). We’ve seen a great connection between science, history, and beer before, so maybe this really is becoming a trend. They missed out on some of the uber nerdy Star Wars-themed beers, but still came up with some pretty good ones like Gigabit IPA (brewed in hopes of getting Google to place its hyper-fast Internet in Portland, OR), Moog Filtered Ale, and Biere de Mars, which I happen to have a bottle of sitting in my fridge. Here’s writer Betsy Mason’s take:
This beer is strong on malt and low on hops with a sweet start and a slightly sour, funky finish that we attributed to the wild yeast. It has some of that typical Belgian boozy feel to it, though it is a relatively mild 6.2 percent alcohol. Webmonkey editor Michael Calore summed it up as “sweet, but not too sweet.” Strangely, while everyone had more than usual to say about the different flavors in this beer, we were split on whether it had distinctive character or fell more on the mild and forgettable end of the spectrum. Personally I think Biere de Mars has a lot of interesting tastes, but they are subtle, which works for me. It could be a good training beer for people who aren’t sure about Belgian beers.
Make sure you get over to Wired to check out the whole list.