US Does Belgium (and vice versa)
Reading blogs and forums, it seems that for European US is Beer Heaven, whereas Americans, as much as they take pride in their beer, carry their inferiority complex to our beloved beverage. This is not surprising. Give them Italian Sculpting, English literature, Swiss cheese and French luxury bags – and Belgian beers. Two of the finest Belgian beers we came across as of late are actually American.
Brewery Ommegang has two beers in the book We already covered Ommegang Abbey Ale, which we drank at least twice in the past year. The brewery resides in the Belgian colony of Cooperstown, NY, where good beer is made and no arms are cut during the production. The brewery is owned by Duvel Moortgat, whose beers are quite popular in Israel – this keeps my hopes to get Ommebeer in Tel Aviv quite high. Ommegang Three Philosophers is probably the brewery’s crown jewel: this Quadruple is a blend of 98% Quadruple ale and 2% Liefman Kriek. This results in a layered, complex drink that has cherry and sour elements in the nose as well as alcohol and flowers in bloom. It tastes slightly sour, but also sweet and yeasty. As in other beers I drank from the brewery, this one too is pretty carbonated.
I adored Three Philosophers the first time I drank the beer and I’m glad to say that hundreds of beers later, I still like it alot.
Celis White is the creation of Pierre Celis, who is the mind behind Hoegaarden. This is another hardcore-Belgian beer that’s brewed in the US, Belgian wheat beer this time. This is a beer with rocky history behind it. After selling Hoegaarden to Interbrew-Labatt in the 80’s due to a financial mess that was caused by fire, Celis family immigrated to Texas where Pierre started brewing under his name. In 1996 Celis Brewery too was sold to a multinational and after the Miller plant where the beer was brewed was shut down a couple of their brands, among them is Celis White, were sold to Michigan Brewery that was closed in 2012. Pierre Celis died in 2011 and a few months ago his family bought back the trademark and is now planning to reopen and brew Pierre Celis’ original recipes in Celis Brewery original hometown, Austin, TX. It’s a story with a happy ending but as of now it is unclear when the beer is available again. Luckily Shachar fetched a bottle on a trip to Germany. I’m glad we don’t have to hunt it down. This is a great Belgian witbier, pale cloudy blond with white head, delicate spicy aroma with the necessary orange peel, sweet taste with sour touch and some petroleum, full body, chewy texture and this unique, delicate balance that makes it all such an enjoyable drink.
Ommegang Three Philosophers and Celis White are beers #195 and #196 I Must Try Before I Die.