From the Brewers: Upside Brown

We asked Brewer Mike McManus to tell us a bit about Upside Brown, the newest beer in our Brewmaster’s Obsession Series. Upside Brown is making it’s way from the brewery to store shelves now.

Upside Brown is an exploration of bottle-conditioned Brett character in a malty beer, specifically Brett character that enhances and complements the specialty malts. It’s best described a Biere de Garde (beer for keeping), a farmhouse-style brown ale traditionally brewed in Northern France and sometimes thought of as the lesser known cousin of the popular saison style. More so than most styles (if styles are your thing), Biere de Garde has a wide array of examples, from golden to copper to brown. Upside Brown is on the malty end of the spectrum, for sure.

upsidebrown

The base beer is brewed with wheat, Munich, a dash of drum-roasted malt, and lightly hopped with French Strisselspalt. Primary fermentation with our unique house yeast strain brings dark, ripe fruits to the party with a slight spicy, phenolic edge. Following primary fermentation, the beer is dosed with a blend of Brettanomyces and Saccharomyces.

Upside Brown 750ml BottleWe trialed a wide array of yeast blends and varying concentrations in order to get the character we wanted in this beer, a process that involved a lot of waiting and a lot of sampling. This distinctive yeast blend imparts a tart fruitiness, cherry pie character, and a fair amount of funky goodness. However, this is not intended to be a sour beer, there are a lot of misconceptions about Brett beers and sourness.

The beauty of this beer in my mind, is the marriage of the base beer and the elements brought by cellaring with Brett – the beer becomes more complex and more drinkable at the same time. We have cellared the beer for four months in climate-controlled conditions to ensure that you will not be disappointed drinking straight off of the shelf (wait until you get home). Aging will produce a drier beer with even more funky Brett character.

-Mike

Available for a limited time in 750ml bottles starting October 1st in AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NV, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, VA, WA, WI. Craft Shack also has some for sale online which they can ship directly to you.

Valar Morghulis

It’s 50 degrees at the brewery today and while we’re hoping for a few more days of warm weather, it seems that fall is taking hold. One upside to the cooler weather is the arrival of our fall seasonal, Scythe & Sickle harvest ale (available now) and Valar Morghulis Dubbel ale, our latest Game of Thrones-inspired beer, which will be on shelves soon.

There are always a lot of questions about how to get the Game of Thrones-inspired beers. It seemed helpful when we posted about finding Fire and Blood last spring so here are some tips and a few elements of the process to assist our friends this time around.

We’ve heard your shouts to make more so we have increased production to 100 brews for Valar Morghulis in the hopes that more fans will be able to enjoy the beer. 100 brews is the equivalent of 666,000 bottles or 132,000 gallons.

Valar Morghulis 750ml Bottle

Ommegang is currently not distributed in North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming so unfortunately Valar Morghulis will also not be for sale in these states. Ommegang beers are only exported to a few provinces of Canada at the moment so Valar Morghulis will only be available outside of the United States in British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

It is illegal for us to sell online or directly to customers who are not at the brewery, so we cannot do any online orders. We sell the beer from the brewery to distributors in each state who then sell to retailers (bars, grocery stores and other locations). There are a few websites that are allowed to sell beer directly to fans and we will post those here as they come in.

The first available sales day is Wednesday, October 1st. Not all stores or bars will be launching the beer this day as their delivery time for this week may vary. If you are in the Cooperstown area, you may purchase Valar Morghulis at the brewery store from 12-5pm beginning Friday, September 26th.

Our best advice is to call your local beer store first. The beer is going to sell very quickly in some places so before you trek out to find it, call ahead and make sure your store has it in stock before making any long journeys.

We have a beer finder that will show the locations that the beer has been sold to. The beer finder works by aggregating sales data from the distributor and it is uploaded often a few days after the sale into the account. With the great demand it might even be sold out by the time it is listed on our beer finder, so again we strongly encourage you to call your local retailers in advance.

We have a limited stock of the official Game of Thrones® Valar Morghulis glassware available on our e-store.

Happy hunting,

Allison and Brian

Denver’s Jensen Cummings wins HopChef title at BCTC

Have you heard about HopChef? HopChef is our national culinary competition. We hold a handful of events around the country in major metro areas, challenging beer-forward chefs to create a perfect pairing with one of our beers.

Last October, we held a small HopChef event at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. That’s where we met Chef Jensen Cummings. He won the Denver event and then 10 months later he came to Cooperstown and took home the national title at our HopChef Finale at BCTC last weekend.

Learn more about Jensen’s dish and the competition in the press release below. You can look back at the #HopChef action on Twitter and Instagram.

Denver’s Jensen Cummings wins HopChef title at BCTC

Brewery Ommegang and SAVEUR Magazine’s 2014 HopChef season ended on a delicious note on August 9 in Cooperstown, NY with a fierce competition between four regional HopChef winners.  In the end, Jensen Cummings, of Denver’s The BSide, edged out his competitors with his dish of Tender Belly pork meatballs paired with Witte, Ommegang’s award-winning wheat ale.

Cummings’ competition included Chef Sean Brasel of Meat Market Miami in Miami, Chef Ben Puchowitz of Cheu Noodle in Philadelphia, and Chef Johnny Sheehan of New World Tavern in Plymouth, MA. Each chef won a HopChef competition in their respective cities in order to compete at the finale in Cooperstown.  Saturday’s competition elicited deep focus from the chefs while an exclusive group of festival attendees who secured admittance through a Facebook lottery clamored after the imaginative dishes.

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“We are always blown away by the taste and presentation of the HopChefs’ dishes and this year was no exception,” said Bill Wetmore, Marketing Director for Brewery Ommegang.  “Without a doubt, this was the toughest competition we’ve seen to date. The dishes were delicious and unique and each paired so perfectly with their chosen Ommegang beers. The judges really had a hard decision on their hands this year and I could have seen any of the chefs walking away with the title.”

In additional to serious bragging rights, Cummings also receives a spotlight position on the SAVEURTastemakers™ chef advisory board, a spotlight in SAVEUR Magazine & StarChefs.com editorial, a showcase with Brewery Ommegang at the StarChefs.com International Chefs Congress and a showcase station with Brewery Ommegang at the SAVEUR Summer BBQ, both in New York.

HopChef is part of Ommegang’s Great Beer Deserves Great Food® initiative — dedicated to the advancement of great beer as a perfect complement to fine fare. HopChef will make its Dallas debut on November 3 at 3015 at Trinity Groves.

While the Hop Chefs battled it out, more than 3,000 beer lovers enjoyed the rest of the festivities at “Belgium Comes to Cooperstown,” Ommegang’s annual beer festival.  In its 11th year, BCTC was infused with a Vegas theme and featured more than 75 breweries and importers pouring Belgian and Belgian-style beer, a cigar tent, skydivers, circus performers, live music, and fireworks. BCTC began Friday night with a five-course VIP dinner paired with Duvel family beers.

Jensen Cummings announced as HopChef winner

Ommegang Innovation Beers at BCTC

Mike McManusOur Innovation Manager Mike McManus is responsible for developing news beers with the staff brewers and refining recipes. He says he has one of the best jobs at the brewery. Mike has been whipping up some interesting new beers on the pilot system this year and he’ll be pouring some of them at BCTC this weekend.

Here’s what’ll be rotating through the innovation tap on Saturday:

Bourbon Barrel Adoration 11.6% ABV
Adoration winter ale aged in Catskill Distilling Bourbon Barrels

Calypso Hennepin 7.7% ABV
Hennepin Saison with Calypso hops in kettle addition and dry-hopping

Gose 4.5% ABV
Tart, salty, spiced with toasted coriander and lemon and lime zest

Table Beer 3.5% ABV
“Dry-zested” with lemon and orange

Session IPA 4.5% ABV
Equinox single hop IPA

Coffee Ale 7.5% ABV
Full bodied amber ale with coffee, chocolate, and milk sugar

Dark Saison (% ABV
Dark farmhouse ale

There are very limited quantities of these beers and there’s no particular pouring schedule. The innovation tap at the Ommegang table will be like beer roulette so stop by a few times and try what Mike has on tap. You’re sure to walk away a winner.