Ommegang is one of my favorite New York breweries (and favorite
overall). It’s rare I drink a beer from them that’s less than good. But
in the case of “Hopstate NY,” it’s not just merely not good, it’s just
plain bad. I don’t know what happened with this brew but it has hardly
any aroma, a taste of plastic, and spastic mouthfeel. Perhaps I got a
I poured a 12oz bottle into an official Ommegang goblet. It had a best by date of 10/2015 and cost $4.35 ($0.36 per ounce).
Appearance: Looks like a typical Belgian beauty with hazy shade of
orange. Carbonation and sediment are visible. Pours to a large, white,
fluffy head which laces and retains extremely well.
Smell: Surprisingly light nose with just a hint of pine needles. A bit of a vegetal character. Seems off.
Taste: I had very high hopes for this beer considering it’s brewed
exclusively with New York State-grown Cascade, Nugget and Chinook hops.
The problem is there’s no rhyme or reason to the flavors. Everything
clashes here. The malt presence is faint to the point that there’s
little distinctiveness to it and the hops are neither bitter nor
flavorful. It does have a familiar Chinook character of resiny, almost
smoked pine needles, but there’s also a bizarre plastic-like taste. I
think this is some kind of yeast stress or perhaps just the Ommegang
house strain not complementing this American recipe. Each swig ends with
a sharp, extremely dry biting sensation. This isn’t the kind of quality
I usually associate with this brewery.
Drinkability: Ommegang bottle-conditions everything they make, but I
think it might be time to start force-carbing their more American
styles. The mouthfeel here is so spastic that it foams up in my cheeks
and gets caught in my throat on the way down. The 5.6% ABV seems about
right for the delivery, but I’d expect much more flavor and complexity
from Hopstate NY.