Save The Adoration
Many a beer aficionado can point to that magical moment that converted them. It showed them that beer and yellow, fizzy water are in fact two different things. For me this moment was at a restaurant at a Baltimore art gallery in February of 2008.
I was down there for a business trip in DC and I ended up going out to dinner with some family members of my colleague. We were there a little early so we found ourselves waiting at the bar. To this point, my
beer yellow, fizzy water of choice was Labatt Blue. As you go south, it gets harder and harder to find, so rather than risk the bartender acting confused about the request, I asked him to pick out a beer for me. I've come to learn that this is very rarely a mistake.
I ended up having two beers. While I can't remember what the first was, the second was Delirium Noel. This beer blew my mind. When asked what it tasted like, my response was "Christmas!" At 10% alcohol it took me by surprise. The spiced introduction to Belgian ales sold me. I snuck the empty bottle (that the bartender let me keep) onto the plane on the way home so that I could use it to try and locate this amazing beer. Someone pointed me at Beers of the World and my hopes rose. The employee scolded me over the phone. "That's a Christmas seasonal. It's February. We don't have any left!" And so, the wait began.
Over the coming months we made it a point to start researching Belgian beers. Duvel and Rochefort 10 became fast favorites and we still love them today. We also discovered Tap and Mallet which is easily the best beer bar in the area. When the holiday season finally rolled around, we were able to secure a case of Delirium Noel from Beers of the World. We enjoyed handing bottles out as gifts to our friends and family.
Fast forward another year and not much had changed. We were still trying as many different Belgian beers as we could get our hands on. Strangely, we hadn't yet discovered the American craft beer scene. My family was in town and we noticed that Tap and Mallet had Noel on draft. This was exciting so we carted everyone there to work on showing them what actual beer is. To our surprise, another similar beer was available, Ommegang Adoration out of Cooperstown. Yes, the same Cooperstown that is three hours down the Thruway. We ordered some with, admittedly, some apprehension. To be Belgian beers they had to actually be from Belgium, right?
We were all blown away. It was easily better than Delirium Noel. It has an earthiness that just isn't present in that beer. I find out now that 2009 was the first year that they brewed it. It's awesome to think that we were trying it off their inaugural batch and we didn't even know it. While we still like Noel, Adoration was our new chart topper. We were able to buy some bottles of it that same year and we've continued to buy bottles by the case every year since. We have even made it a point to keep and age one from each year in preparation for a vertical tasting at some point in the future. Brewery Ommegang has become easily one of our favorite breweries and it's right here in upstate New York! We even made it a point to nab VIP tickets to BCTC last year.
Well just recently I noticed that the brewery launched a new version of their website. The site is pretty slick and it looks like new label designs for all the beers are coming along with it. They are nice but losing the 'Big-O' style will take some getting used to. The change was exciting until I stumbled on the "Historical Ales" section. There, lined up next to previous cancelled beers and one-offs, was my beloved Adoration. This sparked a minor freak-out on Twitter.
The official Ommegang Twitter account was quick to respond to my little panic, but sadly the response was an enigmatic confirmation.
"We still may have Adoration return this year. Thanks for letting us know that you want it back. That's what we need to hear."
It's hard to grasp exactly what this means but I'll tell you how I read it. Adoration is, in fact, tentatively cancelled. However, they would be receptive to a grassroots campaign demanding that it return.
So, this is me trying to start one. Do you love Adoration as much as I do? Did my silly story remind you that this awesome beer exists? Tweet at @BreweryOmmegang about it and use the #SaveTheAdoration hashtag! Have you not had it before? I bet you can find some 2011 bottles! They are out there! Try it. I know you will like it.
Pale on April 25, 2012 at 8:09pm EDT