Monday, July 2, 2012

Art of Darkness – Brewery Ommegang

                If you want good, traditional Belgian beer in the US you can rely upon imports or go with a beer from a brewery famous for remaining true to Belgian brewing traditions, like Brewery Ommegang.  In fact, Ommegang is currently owned by Brouwerji Duvel Moortgat, the brewers of Duvel and many other fine Belgian beers.  However, let’s go back to Ommegang’s beginnings.  The brewery was founded in 1997 by Don Feinberg who built a building for his brewery, inspired by the traditional farmhouses of Belgium, just outside of Cooperstown, NY.  Able to meet the demand for quality Belgian beers in the US, Ommegang’s popularity took off and the brewery continued to be successful until 2003 when Don Feinberg sold Ommegang to Duvel Moortgat.

Update from the brewery : 
                I was corrected by the ever knowledgeable Brew Master, Phil Leinhart.  Prior to opening Ommegang, Don Reinberg operated and continues to operate a Belgian Beer import company - Vanburg & Dewulf, also based out of Cooperstown.  At the time of Ommegang's founding it was opened with Duvel and other Belgian partners.  In 2003, Duvel purchased all shares in Ommegang, becoming the sole owner.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog post:
                As with any great brewery though, they are constantly adding more beers to their line-up with Ommegang Funkhouse, Chocolate Indulgence Stout and Biere de Mars coming out in 2007; Adoration released for the first time in 2009; BPA, Zuur, Tripel Perfection and Cup O’ Kyndness introduced in 2010; with Gnomegang and Aphrodite being brewed for the first time in 2011.  However, not content with their current selection, Ommegang released two more beers in the first part of 2012, Art of Darkness this past April and Seduction before it in January.

                I have had almost every beer that Ommegang brews and have thoroughly enjoyed each one.  So, when I heard of the latest release Art of Darkness, I knew I had to try it.  Fortunately, brew master Phil Leinhart was reachable over e-mail and was able to provide additional information on this excellent brew.  Thank you Mr. Leinhart, your help was greatly appreciated.

                At Beeradvocate Art of Darkness currently has an 87.  Over at ratebeer it has a 97 overall with a 94 for style.

They say:

                Let us now acknowledge the dark arts of brewing. Our limited edition Art of Darkness Ale is deep, dark and magical, with champagne-like carbonation and rich matiness from a complex recipe of multiple barley and wheat malts, as well as flaked oats.

                Using no spices or flavorings, Art of Darkness gains all its rich aromas, tastes, and apparent spiciness from the malts and Ommegang's proprietary house yeast.

                There are no secret ingredients or magical incantation. There is only Ommegang brewers' creating the finest quality dark, strong ale of complex and deep character.

                Art of Darkness is a fine ale to enjoy immediately, and is excellent to cellar.

8.9% ABV

The Bottle adds:

                Art of Darkness unites barley and wheat malts, flaked oats, Ommegang Yeast and noble hops in a bewitching demonstration of the Brewing Arts. Yet there are no secret ingredients nor mystical incantations. There is only the highest realization of the art of Brewing a dark Belgian-style ale of extraordinary flavor, aroma, and balance. This ale walks the line between being savored now, and being cellared to relish later. As a discerning patron of the dark arts, you can make your own choice.

                Brewery Ommegang is 3,624 miles from Brussels, but its heart is right in Belgium. It was created out of our devotion to the unique ales brewed by the country where brewing is an art and partaking is a passion.

                Mr. Leinhart provided additional information, the use of Hallertau Spalter Select and Styrian Golding hops, and the use of fructose for the Belgian sugar addition as opposed to dark candi sugar.

I say:

                Art of Darkness pours opaque black with a nice thick, creamy, rocky tan head; which had great retention and left some remarkable lacing in the glass.  The aromas are very complex beginning with sweet malts, leading into dark fruits (cherry and plum) with chocolate notes and finishes like a toasted marshmallow.

                The flavor is excellent, with dark malts coming to the forefront, followed by caramelized sugar.  Dark fruit notes pop towards the end, primarily plum with a hint of cherry; there was a slight bit of Dr. Pepper flavor at the end, which, however odd it was, fits perfectly.  Art of Darkness is full bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.  The official description says that it’s highly carbonated, but this beer is just so full bodied that it doesn’t feel as though it is highly carbonated.
                This is a truly amazing beer!  I hope that this beer remains in the line-up like both BPA and  Chocolate Indulgence have.

                Keep up the great work Mr Leinhart, America needs more excellent craft beer!

                That’s all for today, check back on Wednesday for a review of Inferno Ale from The Lost Abbey; I may keep up the Belgian theme this week depending upon what looks good in my cellar Thursday night.

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