Saturday, February 9, 2008

the gang at ommegang

The warm scent of hops and malt greeted us as we walked in from the cold through a heavy wooden door. Inside the large room with shiny metal vats and rows of gauges and tubes stood an assembly of admirers gathered around with steaming bowls of chili made with one of their fine brews, Three Philosophers. Then the tour began...

I have to admit I've never been much of a beer drinker. Something about going to a conservative college, read "dry campus", meant I was not submerged in keg parties and beer pong, sucking down cheap beer in great quantities. Ok, drinking was not entirely absent at the college, but I was not a participant, probably due to a number of factors, including the homeschooled girl thing. When I was of age, I spent my energy on getting to know wine and never really acquired a taste for the pints. However, that changed when I began dating a guy who brews his own. Probably enough said. I have now sampled a range of micro-brews and handcrafted naturally fermented beers in his care. I would still choose a glass of Shiraz over a porter, but I can appreciate the time, effort, and craft that goes into the latter.

...and we learned a fair bit about the differences between Belgian style beer and others, as well as the former glory days of upstate NY hop farmers. My task as the DD limited my sampling, but the tour concluded in a rather manly tasting room complete with food pairings. I certainly did not hold back from enjoying some fine Belgian chocolate, and in fact, came home with a dark bar containing bits of Earl Grey tea--very elegant. All four of us who headed out from Small Falls also purchased classy Ommegang shirts to commemorate the visit.

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