I’d Tap That: Ommegang’s Hennepin is perfect for the coming spring season
Glassware: The saison style, like many Belgian beers, is effervescent and has a large fluffy head. Glassware that has room for the beer to breath and also traps the wonderful Belgian yeast aroma is an absolute must. This is a beer that is best enjoyed cold, and glassware that allows the beer to warm slowly will suit the beer perfectly. Stemware is the best selection whether it be a snifter, tulip or an oversized wine glass.
Description: Brewery Ommegang’s Hennepin pours a golden straw color with a fluffy pure-white head that recedes leaving a beautiful white lacing on the glass. The beer emits a very pleasing aroma of oranges, coriander, mild grassy hop aroma and even a small amount of bubble gum that is familiar to Belgian yeast strains. The refreshing aroma is equally matched by the refreshing taste. The initial flavors are slightly tart and spicy melding with wonderful carbonation. This is quickly followed with a sweetness and flavors of ginger, apples, spices and Belgian yeast all coming together to dance on your taste buds. Hennepin’s light body and carbonation combine to cleanse the palate and leave behind the after taste of fruit and sweet spices. The stand out characteristic with this beer is the dryness that is standard for the saison style; this dryness gives the beer quite appropriate comparisons to champagne. Hennepin is a perfect example of the saison style, which is quite the accomplishment for an American brewery, considering it is such a highly regarded Belgian style.
Food pairing: The sweetness and spices within Hennepin make it a perfect beer for an afternoon barbecue as the temperature, hopefully, begins to warm. Another delightful trait about this beer, it certainly holds its own with spicy or heavily fatty dishes that pack a wallop of flavor. Hennepin, despite its higher ABV, is also a perfect beer to enjoy with a light salad piled with any variety of protein topped with a light vinaigrette. Feel free to drink Hennepin alongside jerk chicken, any sort of Cajun dish, pork loin, or a delectable duck dinner. This beer can handle them all. Hennepin is also a great beer to pair with cheeses, especially strong, pungent cheeses, but a perfect match for this beer is the Humbolt Fog cheese by California’s Cypress Grove. The two together are absolutely sublime and make wonderful music together on your taste buds.
The Final Word: Brewery Ommegang has long been one of the best American-based breweries brewing popular Belgian style beers. They have a stellar lineup of year round Belgian inspired beers and an ever-increasing seasonal lineup. Hennepin is one of their first beers that was added to the lineup, and it still remains a standout, not only within the brewery but also within the beer market. Hennepin is not only a great Belgian beer brewed from an American brewery, but is a phenomenal Belgian-style beer that will stand tall with any Belgian brewers take on the style. Hennepin is a beer that is perfect for all beer lovers, even those who are new to craft beer. The taste is complex yet simple, it is highly drinkable and full-flavored all while being light and refreshing. This is the perfect beer to drink any time of the year, but is exceptionally perfect during the spring season.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Brewery Ommegang
Style: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 7.7 %