HENNEPIN FARMHOUSE SAISON is our third beer BrewView from BREWERY OMMEGANG. (Read our BrewViews on GAME OF THRONES TAKE THE BLACK STOUT and THREE PHILOSOPHERS QUADRUPEL) and it is one of the original beers that the brewery produced along with their Abbey Ale, Rare Vos, and Witte.
Hennepin Farmhouse Saison is named after the Belgian explorer Father Louis Hennepin, O.F.M. baptized Antoine, (12 May 1626 – c. 1705). He was a Catholic priest and missionary of the Franciscan Recollect order (French: Récollets) and an explorer of the interior of North America. Hennepin was born in Ath in the Spanish Netherlands (now in the province of Hainaut, Belgium).
Two great waterfalls were brought to the world’s attention by Louis Hennepin: Niagara Falls, with the most voluminous flow of any in North America, and the Saint Anthony Falls in what is now Minneapolis, the only waterfall on the Mississippi River. In 1683, he published a book about Niagara Falls called A New Discovery. (Source: Wikipedia)
As Brewery Ommegang states, “When Father Hennepin set off for the new world, he couldn’t have known he’d be the first European to lay eyes on Niagra Falls. Yet this was his destiny. Likewise, when we decided to make our version of a Belgian Saison spicier than others, we had no idea what new realms of flavor we’d discover.”
ABOUT BREWERY OMMEGANG
Ommegang began brewing Belgian-style ales in 1997. Founded by Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, owners of Vanberg & DeWulf beer import company, and three family owned Belgian breweries including Duvel Moortgat. Ommegang started up in a purpose-built building based on a traditional Belgian farmhouse, set on a former 136-acre (0.55 km2) hop farm in the Susqehanna River Valley, four miles (6 km) south of Cooperstown, New York in the Town of Milford.
Since its opening, Ommegang has grown rapidly — in early 2005, its owner said they have been unable to meet demand for their ales and as a result would add 40 percent to their production capacity over the next year.
By 2003, the Belgian breweries had all been absorbed into large corporations. Feinberg and Littlefield sold their share of Ommegang in 2003 to Belgian brewer Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat, brewers of the world-renowned Duvel Golden Ale. Duvel Moortgat brewed limited amounts of beer for Brewery Ommegang in 2006 to help meet demand, but has not brewed any since then.
Brewery Ommegang currently distributes its beers in 43 states and Washington, D.C., including Alaska and Hawaii but excluding Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Mississippi. Ommegang has also begun exporting to Canada and the US Virgin Islands.
Each summer, the brewery hosts a large beer-tasting event, known as Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. The event, which occurs on a Saturday in July or August, includes four hours of unlimited beer sampling of over 200 Belgian and Belgian-style beers, followed by food, live music, and a bonfire.
On 7 October 2007, Brewery Ommegang hosted the inaugural “CX @ Ommegang,” a cyclocross race, organized by Team SCARR, a cycling team with Brewery Ommegang as their title sponsor. Cyclocross is wildly popular in Belgium and a cyclocross race on the grounds of a Belgian-style brewery was a natural fit. Well over 150 racers from all over New York State registered for the event. The course included a hairpin turn inside the main event tent. (Source: Wikipedia)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION FROM BREWERY OMMEGANG
Style category: Belgian-Style / Farmhouse Saison
Taste: This style is a farmhouse ale, and is considered to be in the domain of the Belgian Saisons. Hennepin is a delicious brew for all seasons, it is spicy and refreshing.
A moderately hoppy, farmhouse-style ale with a champagne-like effervescence, Hennepin has a crisp start followed by malt sweetness balanced with a firm bitterness. Hennepin has a bounty of great flavors: ginger, spice, orange and toasted grain. Pouring a bright golden color with a spicy-sweet balance of orange peel, sweet malt, hops and ginger, Hennepin makes way for a dry finish with a slight bite of ginger.
AWARDS FOR HENNEPIN FARMHOUSE SAISON
Cave-aged Hennepin winning the 2004 Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal for French- and Belgian-style Saisons
2006 World Beer Cup Silver Medal for French- Belgian-Style Saison
2007 European Beer Star: Gold Medal, Spiced beer
OUR BREWVIEW OF BREWERY OMMEGANG- HENNEPIN FARMHOUSE SAISON
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
7.7 % ABV. Poured into a tulip-shaped glass, and served at 47°F. Pours a light golden / straw color. The white colored head pours an easy 2-finger height, and is tightly bubbled and dense, rocky density. As the head collapses, the Brussels lacing it leaves behind is even. (We ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). The meniscus is medium rising. There was a slight haze to the beer, due to the bottle conditioning. The bottle states to “Pour the beer so as not to disturb the yeast sediment in the bottle.” Well, as you probably know from our previous beers reviews that were bottle conditioned, we believe that the yeast sediment is the “yummy” part of the beer, so of course we poured it in!
AROMA / BOUQUET:
The initial bouquet is grassy, herbal, floral, nice fresh hop notes.
Right off the bat, you get those herbal, dry, grassy flavors that are characteristic of a Belgian Saison style beer, but there definitely is more spice. The spice / prickly heat taste is from the orange peel and the ginger. Nice citrus- grapefruit and orange. Brewery Ommegang’s beers have their characteristic “house yeast” taste to them. You’ll have to try them to know what we mean. This one is no exception- wonderful yeast freshness.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The wonderful champagne-like effervescence of this beer fills the entire mouth with its fluffiness and sparkle. The bubbling in the glass is more gentle than the actual effervescence level suggests. Nice dry finish, with a citrus / ginger spicy aftertaste. If you hold up the beer to your ear, you can “hear” the sparkle in the beer.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
Brewery Ommegang mentions as an accompaniment, it leans towards Asian cuisine, especially sushi. The ginger notes and the coriander pair sublimely with hamachi and salmon and a good dose of wasabi. Our suggestions- APPETIZERS: Boterhammen / Tartines, Charcuterie, blue-veined cheeses, soft cream cheeses, cold chicken salad. ENTRÈES: Moules-Frites, Paling in ‘t groen, sushi, peppered mahi-mahi, Chilean sea bass. DESSERTS: Anything sour, lemony. Poached pear with delicate ginger shavings, poached green apple fritters.
When we first tried Hennepin for the first time in the late 90’s, it was a good representation of a Saison. Being that Brewery Ommegang was new, we had a strong feeling that it was going to get MUCH better with time and development. 17 years later, it is a world class example of a Saison. Even though it is 7.7% ABV, we think this would make a great session beer. We found it at Trader Joe’s here in Redding, California for only $7.99 for a 750ML bottle- what a great bargain! All of Brewery Ommegang’s beers are value priced, for their high quality. Great beer for the warmer months, or for any time of the year for that matter. Brewed year-round, seek this one out for sure!