Friday, March 8, 2019

Ommegang's Bigger and Bretter

Brewery Ommegang is one of those breweries that I enjoy but which has not found its way into any beer review on this blog.  The Cooperstown, New York-based brewery produces some very good Belgian style and French style ales.  One such beer is the Bigger and Bretter, Ommegang's Biere de Garde that was brewed with Brettanomyces, or wild yeast.  

Brett beers are for those beer aficionados who also love to gamble. The reason is that some beers brewed with Brettanomyces have very strong aromas and tastes.  Think of descriptions "barnyard funk" or "horse blanket." The wild yeast does a number to these beers, which only a fan of Brett beers can love.  Other Brett beers are more mild, evoking rather tame descriptions such as "earthy" or "floral." These are the examples of beers brewed that wild yeast that should be tried by a wary beer lover.  The reason is that it provides an opportunity for that person to try a beer style that he or she would not otherwise try ... out of a fear of horse blankets.  The thing is that one will not really know where the Brett beer will fall on this scale -- from barnyard funk to floral -- until the bottle or can is opened.  That is why it is a gamble. 

Fortunately, the Bigger and Bretter finds itself on the milder side of the scale.  The beer pours a orange color, with copper or bronze tones.  As the beer rests in the glass, aromas of cherry pie and cinnamon, along with the yeast, rise up to greet the nose. Those elements also include some herbal notes, which could be expected from a Brett beer.  When compared to some of the Brett beers that I have had in the past, the aromas of this beer were more modest and restrained. 

Not only were the aromas more restrained, but so were the flavors. The flavor of the Bigger and Bretter features tart cherries, but the beer lacked some of the "funk" that seems to set Brett beers apart, such as Les Deux Brasseurs or Orval

This beer is a good Brett beer for those who are reluctant to try a beer brewed with wild yeast.  Unfortunately, for those people, Brewery Ommegang has retired this beer.  For those who love Brett beers, you can still find Orval, which is perhaps one of the best Brett beers out there.   

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