If it seems like I review some breweries’ offerings more than others here at the NYCR, I do. There are breweries, some large, some small, that are obvious standouts in my eyes. It may seem implicit, but when I’m at the beer store I almost always (try to) buy beer that I know I’m going to like. If I buy and review a beer I really dislike, it was probably by accident.
Brewery Ommegang is one of the breweries that I can rely on to never put out crappy beer. I’m not saying every beer they make is great, but they seldom disappoint.
According to the brewmaster’s notes, the Hop House is “Belgian-style pale ale with more hops than we’ve ever put in a beer.” This is a welcome diversion from the malt-forward style you taste in most of their lineup.
The beer settles into the glass with a huge, frothy head that hovers atop a yellow copper base. The nose is dominated by lemon zest and coriander with a definite Belgian flair (would also make a great beer name!). I wouldn’t say that grapefruit is the “overtone” here as the tasting notes suggest, but it is definitely present, telling of the generous Bravo, Golding, and Columbus hops added during and after the boil.
The palate is super-fruity. It reminded me of one of those Dole fruit cups you would get for school lunch. Peeled tangerine, peach, and pineapple fill in the palate up front. On the finish is when you experience the biting hop character. The punchy bitterness mellows out the fruit and brings a balancing dryness to the light bodied ale. I almost wish there was a touch more bitterness but I know that isn’t what they do at Ommegang.
This is what session beer is to me. Refreshing. It isn’t devoid of body, flavor, or alcohol, but it’s surprisingly easy to put down. I officially have a new lawn-mower beer for the upcoming season.