Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Oddbits: Obama Inaugural Ale from Ommegang, Thomas Hardy coming here? Maybe, a drive-by beer club, Consumer Reports tackles lime beer

By William Brand
Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 at 4:14 pm in Uncategorized.

And New beer here…well, almost here…Brewery Ommegang, the Cooperstown, NY brewery, owned by Duvel

The feds said uh-oh to the Ommegang label honoring our next president. Thanks to Don Russell/Beer Radar for the jpg.

The feds said uh-oh to the Ommegang label honoring our next president. Thanks to Don Russell/Beer Radar for the jpg.

Moortgat. the Belgian brewer, is releasing a special beer marking the inauguration Jan. 20 of President Baack Obama.  Ommegang’s Larry Bennett says they wanted to call it: Obamagang, but the feds nixed that name. So Inaguration Ale 2009 was born. Don’t hold your breath, unless you’re somewhere east with a growler, you’re out of luck. Here’s Larry:

  • It will be known legally as Inauguration Ale 2009, but the tap handles will be more…um…direct. The style lies between a porter and stout, with a bit of Kriek and a touch of chocolate blended in. It will be on draft only, beginning with the inauguration – in limited areas including DC, NYC, Syracuse, Philly, Chicago and Boston. We will donate a percentage of sales to charities in the respective cities where the beer is sold, and we’ve asked our distributors to match our donations and pick the local charities. (Also please note that the beer is not an endorsement of Obama.)

Oh sure.

By the way, I guess Denver Mayor and Wynkoop founder John Hickenlooper didn’t consult the feds when Wynkoop created Obamanator for the Great American Beer Fest last fall.  Excellent beer.

More beers coming up from Ommegang (and just maybe coming here to the Bay Area):

  • Ommegang Biere de Mars    January – March   6.5% ABV   750 ml bottle only  Belgian-style amber with Brettanomyces in the secondary fermentation, and also dry-hopped, making Biere de Mars amber ale with a bit of extra zing, extra tartness, and a touch of farmhouse funk.
  • Ommegang Rouge Flemish Red Ale   April – June   5.5% ABV   Draft only Authentic Flemish Sour Red Ale. Brewed with our Belgian partner Bockor Brewery and imported: spontaneously fermented, and n refermented and aged  18 months in French oak casks. It’s an unblended “Grand Cru- style” Flemish Sour Red Ale.
  • Ommegeddon Funkhouse Ale   June – August   8% ABV   750 ML bottle only.  An 8% ABV Belgian-style ale with a wild twist – a dose of Brettanomyces yeast and a blast of dry hopping. It’s a strong blonde ale with a sharp citrus flavor. This will be the fourth official brewing of the beer and we expect it to continue to evolve.
  • Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence   September – November   7%    Draft and 750 ML bottle Since the 2007 – 10th Anniversary Edition – of Chocolate Indulgence Stout. We feel that the just-released 2008 batch has been honed to sublime levels of chocolaty / malty / decadent goodness – and that the 2009 brew will break some other new ground.
  • Ommegang Christmas/Noel/Winter Beer   November – December. It’s never too early to start thinking of next Christmas. The final name, ABV and packaging are under wraps for now, but the beer will – probably – fit somewhere in the range of a high-gravity Belgian-style winter warmer, with an Ommegang twist. (Feel free to send ideas, recommendations and samples of Noel beers you love. We promise to use for educational purposes only.)

Also in the maybe, almost coming here category: My spies tell me there’s a good chance that a supply of the 2008 Thomas Hardy’s Ale may be headed or way.  The beer has been unavailable here since a peninsula distributor went out of business two years ago. Anyway, an entrepreneur is talking with Phoenix Imports and a deal may be in the offing. Stay tuned.

And in the yes, it’s coming here category.. Steve Dresler at Sierra Nevada says their new beer, Torpedo Extra IPA, the first one to join the year-round bottled list at Sierra Nevada in a decade was bottled today; we should expect it in the Bay Area by the end of the month, Steve says. This is from the brewry’s press release:

  • Torpedo celebrates the brewery’s dedication to 100% whole-cone hops all the way through the brewing process. The name itself comes from a device called the “hop torpedo” that was conceived, designed and developed at the brewery. The result is a revolutionary method of dry-hopping that harnesses the vital hop oils and resins that lead to an unusually flavorful and aromatic beer featuring the full, nuanced range of spicy complexity that hops have to offer. Designed with a mixture of hop varietals, each with their own unique character, Torpedo Extra IPA has layers of flavors ranging from citrus, herbs, black pepper and pine, with delicate hints of tropical fruit.
  • Torpedo is an assertive American IPA deep reddish-gold in color, with a smooth and bready malt presence and over-the-top hop aromas. The beer has a solid bitterness and a massive hop flavor, yet remains easy drinking with a pleasant dry finish.

And yes, you may have tried it at the Bistro IPA fest or at pubs around the Bay Area for the last year or two. More coming from Sierra Nevada: They’ve made a keg-only, one-off:A 7.3 percent, imperial smoked porter. It’s made with a large percentage of Wyermann’s hardwood smoked malt, chocolate and black patent malts, and it’s due to make surprise appearances at good pubs around the Bay Area. Can’t wait to taste this one…

Moving on ..Healthy Spirits, the cubbyhole San Francisco beer store at 2299 15th St. at Castro in San Francisco, a place jammed with good beer,  has a unique twist on the usual Beer of the Month club.  It’s a drive-by club. That is, once a month, you drop into the store and pick up a Beer of the Month selection, saving the considerable cost of shipping the beer.

Proprietor Rami Barqawi  selects four beers each month, sends out an e-mail or calls subscribers, who drive by and pick up their beer.  Cost runs between $25 – $40 for the package, Rami says. “We provide tasting notes, history of the beer and lots of information about what you’re drinking,” he adds. The focus is on excellent, hard-to-find beer.

Selections last month: .Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi,  Santa’s Little Helper, Port Brewing, Nogne-O Peculiar Yule, Nogne, a Norweigian brewery, Pannepot 2007, De Sruise, Belgium.   Drive-by beer club; love the concept

Slogging along to the bitter end...Consumer Reports tackled the big brewers’ curiously flavored lime beers and light beers this month.  This paragraph sums up the category:

Bud Light Lime vs. Miller Chill

  • They are based on the Mexican chelada—beer served with lime and salt. Our testers’ first impression was that the citrusy flavor in Miller Chill tasted like tangerine, quite strong and candylike, and the lime flavor in Bud was more like lime juice. A few more tries and the two beers seemed more similar. Tasters thought they were refreshing and inoffensive but not much like beer. None of the tasters noted any salt taste.

Amen. But hint to Consumer Reports: Real beer tasters don’t spit out the beer, although in the case of this light swill spitting might be in order.  Read the review here.

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  • danny

    can’t wait for the ommegang stuff

  • Xprmntl

    Any word on the 2008 Thomas Hardy Ale?