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Beer Review: Ommegang Belgian-Style Pale Ale (BPA)

I was pleased to get a three pack of large beers from Ommegang this Christmas, and I hope to review each one, starting with this “Limited Edition,” Belgian-Style Pale Ale (BPA).

I had just finished a long car trip when I tried this bad boy, so I hoped for something thirst-quenching, but substantial. This sucker really fit the bill. It’s a departure from the regular style of Ommegang beers: strictly authentic, bottle fermented ales. While I haven’t seen many real Belgian beers with the moniker “Pale Ale,” this brew pays homage to Belgian tradition while incorporating a heaping helping of American flavor; this kind of ingenuity is exactly what I love about Brewery Ommegang. I never thought I would ever say this about an Ommegang beer before, but at 6.2% ABV, this could easily be a great session beer.

ABV: 6.2%

Appearance:
Nice gold label on this 750mL bottle. A big yellow “O” is the backdrop for for the white letters “BPA.” When I poured the thing, it looked exactly like the damn picture on the bottle: a thick, tall, white head is persistent through the duration of the drinking experience. The beer is a beautiful translucent copper, uncharacteristic of anything I’ve seen in a bottle-fermented beer, lighter and more yellow than its brother, the Rare Vos.

Smell:
Citrus and a beautiful bouquet of hops on the nose. There is other great stuff going on here too, but I have a cold and I can’t pinpoint what it is.

Taste:
The 5 different hops in this brew are really noticeable. It’s not just bitter, but also complex. Citrus and honey in the forefront.

Mouthfeel:
Almost over-carbonated, but I think I still dig it. Maybe that’s why the head is so dang persistent.

Drinkability:
This is what Sierra Nevada Pale Ale should be. Complex, drinkable, with a beefy sediment at the end that tastes like a delicious hoppy baguette. If only I could drink this stuff on a Sierra Nevada budget…

Note:
According to the Ommegang website, if this beer does well in bars around Chicago, they are thinking of making it a permanent fixture in their lineup. If they price this lower and put it in 6-packs (instead of their usual 4-packs), I think they could make a move into the mainstream market.

Reviewed by Scott Drenkard

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Categories: American Beer, Pale Ales