Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ommegang Witte (2012 12oz bottle)

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (693) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 11, 2012
Ommegang Witte is one of those beers I’ve had numerous times over the last few years but for whatever reason I’ve just never sat down to write a formal review of it until now. While my bottle is several months old, it’s far from expired. Yet it doesn’t taste nearly as robust and complex as it does on tap and from a 750ml corked and caged bottle. But since a 12oz bottle is likely how most drinkers will experience it, this review is based on that presentation.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a wheat beer glass.

Appearance: Very pale yellow/white body; extremely hazy but carbonation and sediment visible. Forms a large, bright white, foamy head which is slow to dissipate and leaves minute lacing on the glass.

Smell: Odd, slightly skunky smell as soon as the cap is popped (it comes in a brown bottle and was sold at a beer store that knows what they’re doing - why this off aroma?). A whiff inside the glass reveals more familiar witbier scent of light lemony character and a hint of spice. Otherwise, not very aromatic.

Taste: Either Ommegang Witte is a beer I’ve romanticized or it just doesn’t present well in a 12oz bottle. Not that it’s bad, just that it’s not nearly as good as it can be. This is basically an Americanized version of Hoegaarden - probably the most famous example of the witbier style (but not the best). A mild palate overall, very clean throughout. There’s a lemony pith and slight fruit flavor throughout the first half. As it starts to go down I get a hint of spice and bitterness. It’s brewed with orangepeel and coriander but those flavors do not seem to survive long in the 12oz bottle. Not that there’s anything off-putting about it, though. It’s one of the few beers with a mild palate that works fairly well, especially as a summer refresher.

Drinkability: What this lacks in robustness it makes up for in raw drinkability. Though quite bubbly to the eye, Ommegang Witte has a thin, almost tepid and watery mouthfeel. It goes down very smooth and definitely will refresh a parched palate on a hot day or night. I’m actually surprised it’s as big as 5.1% ABV as it seems to have the body and weight of something even lighter. Though technically too big to be a "session beer" I can totally understand someone breaking the rules with this one.

Grade: 7/10