Monday, May 16, 2011


Ommegang beers were my first introduction to Belgian-style beers.  I used to buy them before I knew the difference between a dubbel and tripel, or an abbey ale and a saison.   For years, when shopping for beers I only saw the same five Ommegang beers - Witt, Abbey Ale (Ommegang), saison (Hennepin), amber ale (Rare Vos) and the quadrupel (Three Philosophers).  Invariably, I've tried all but the quadrepel, and enjoyed them despite my ignorance.  Today, I appreciate Ommegang even more, as I have come to know Belgian beers and realize the quality of Ommegang's core beers.   Over the past couple of years, Ommegang has released a number of additional beers.  I have tried a few of them, and liked some more than others.  I loved the brilliant sour Zuur, but was not thrilled with the murky holiday ale Adoration. 

Ommegang has now entered the collaboration game with its new Gnomegang.  It teamed up with   Belgium's Chouffe to create a Belgian strong pale ale.  It is a solid, but not spectacular beer.  Gnomegang pours cloudy, with burnt orange-color and has negligible foam.  It is sweet and yeasty with lots of carbonation.  To my taste, it is almost too sweet, and the sweetness is unrelenting (but never cloying), even as the beer warms.  I didn't detect any hop bitterness, so maybe more hops would have cut into the sugars.

Gnomegang's alcohol is 9.5%, but is barely noticeable.  Gnomegang is a dry beer, so have a glass of water handy, especially for the last half of the bottle.  There was not a depth of flavor for such a high abv, but there is enough flavor to keep Gnomegang interesting.  I liked this beer despite its sweetness and one dimensional taste profile.  I'll admit that I was expecting a little more from Gnomegang given the brewing talent at Ommegang and Chouffe, but I'll take Gnomegang's drinkability over layers of tediousness just for the sake of complexity.

I did not take a picture Gnomegang, but Brew Maniacs was gracious enough to allow me to use their picture of Gnomegang.

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