you probably already know this, but every year I like to lay down beers
during the winter season for imbibing during the hot month of July. I do
this for several reasons, of course, partly because it's fun to think of
Christmas in July, but mostly because winter beers are stronger in flavor
and alcohol. That means aging can have interesting effects on them.
To be fair, aging to July is only about an eight month endeavor. And a beer
like the one I'm drinking tonight,Ommegang
Adoration Special Winter Ale, could likely last far longer than that. It
may well improve further, too, smoothing out a bit as time goes by. But I
must confess that holding on to Adoration this long would be a challenge
enough for the most patient of saints. So, July 25th, the true
Christmas in July,
was about as long as I could hold out on this one.
The brewery describes the beer as follows on the bottle:
Adoration is a traditional winter ale, brewed in the Belgian manner, but
with the twist of unusual spicing. Sip it on a winter eve, sitting before a
fire. You'll understand why we couldn't name it anything else.
to a murky, cloudy chestnut color with a light cream colored head formation
and a nose so full of chocolate and spice that it reminds me of a Christmas
gift wrapped in brightly colored paper. Except, of course, that here instead
of the paper tempting me to open my gift, I instead desperately want to take
a sip. And so I do, and my mouth is immediately greeted with chocolaty
undertones piled high with a hint of savory
coriander, fruity raisin, bright notes of citric orange, dark sweet
molasses, earthy mace, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
A big holiday spice cake of a beer? This could certainly be one. A spicy
gingerbread cookie in a glass? That works too. Indeed, the spices here add a
wonderful dryness in the finish, paired with the warming alcohol. Ommegang
calls this a "true Belgian-style dark ale", and a hint of funky Belgian
yeast does come through towards the finish. But mostly I think the spices
overpower any Belgian character.
In may ways, Ommegang Adoration reminds me of Anchor's Our Special Ale, rich
and warming as it is with spices, malt and alcohol. Adoration seems a bit
thinner in body, though might be higher in alcohol at 10% by volume. I can
imagine this as a delightful sipping brew on a cold winter's eve, but even
on a hot July one it's absolutely delightful.
A bargain at about ten bucks for the cage corked 750 ML bottle for such a
rich and complex ale. Don't miss it in winter, and buy enough to lay down
for July, too.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.