Last night several of us had the pleasure of attending the Duvel & Ommegang dinner at Magnolia’s in Purcellville. It was a spectacular affair with great food and some truly amazing beers from Belgium. I’ll do my best to recap the evening as accurately as possible since it was a BIG beer dinner where all but one beer was over 8%abv. So…
Where do I begin?
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds. Pretty standard really.
But enough with my life’s story. Upon arrival to Mag’s we were all greeted with huge smiles and two beers; De Koninck Amber and De Koninck Triple, both excellent representation of their respective styles. Both had a great malt backbone and a strong estery yeast presence typical of great Belgian beers. The triple was a tad sweet for the style, but still very good. We mingled and socialized for a while with the various members from HOWL which included Matt Tolley and his lovely wife Linda, Mike Rabatin and his beautiful wife Donnicia, Tolga Baki and his awesome wife Katie, Kevin Koch and his love partner Schuyler Stultz, and at the nearby kiddie table was John Myers and his wife Kim.
Once seated, we were served a heady glass of Ommegang Hennepin
. It’s a beer that doesn’t need much introduction, surely you’ve all had it, but I will say it is one of my favorite saisons simply because the funk is in check with the malt and hops. Spiced with orange peel, coriander, grains of paradise and ginger, it was served with the chef’s tuna tartare topped with a quail egg and a ginger lime vinaigrette. The beer and the tuna were absolutely delicious. It was a great start to what was surely going to be a noteworthy evening!
Second course was timbale of sole and scallop mousseline in a lemongrass beurre blanc served with the Duvel Triple Hop
. What is a timbale you may ask? Look it up, we had to! The fish was excellent to say the least… could not be better. The beer? Wow, oh wow! It was one of the favorites that night. Each year Duvel uses a different hop for the third hop of this Triple Hop beer… this year they chose Sorachi Ace. The beer by itself is amazing and hides the 9.5%abv deceptively well behind a crisp, smooth drinkability. We highly recommend looking out for and stocking up on this beer.
Next up was a wonderful seafood shepherd’s pie bursting with salmon, shrimp, & scallops, all topped with creamy lobster whipped potatoes. Mag’s decided to let us double fist this course with La Chouffe (8%abv) and Houblon Chouffe (9%abv). Both beers made by Brasserie A’Chouffe with Houbron sporting the addition of American hops Amarillo and Tomahawk. La Chouffe does use a very unique yeast blend and perhaps this contributes to the nose of these two beers. La Chouffe had a slight metallic or copper penny nose, and the Houbron smelled a bit like soap or pine-sol. Oddly, once you get past the nose, the beers were quite good. Both were very smooth, clean, and typically Belgian in mouthfeel and finish. I would categorize these as an anomaly wrapped in an enigma and bottled in Belgium.
Matt couldn’t get enough Goudenbond
The fourth course was the Beer braised Pork Sauerbraten with other stuff on top, but they lost us after we read beer braised pork sauer… (drool) which was paired with Liefmans Goudenband, a brown ale with open fermentation… a lambic. This pairing floored us all! The soft succulent pork and tangy poached apples paired perfectly with the funky lambic. All I could envision was Forrest sitting on that tree saying, “Jenny and me was like peas and carrots”. Perfect pairing is the only way to describe it. Also, whether or not you are a fan of sours and lambic, I strongly urge you to try this one. As with the Hennepin, the funk… is JUST right! Brilliant auburn color with a lacy head, winey, tart, malty sweetness with a medium-light body.
As if that was not enough, we were presented with the final course, Chocolate Pot de Creme with a Cherry Chocolate Biscotti. And what better beer to pair that with than the Ommegang Three Philosophers
and the Ommegang Adoration. I’m sure you’ve all had the former, but the latter is an interesting winter ale spiced with cardamom and mace (not the big stick with spikes). 10%abv with a malty sweet finish and nuanced spiciness that is a great winter warmer. Another winner!
We all left fat, dumb, and happy thanks to great food from Maggie’s and amazing beers from the Duvel group. All these beers are available for a limited time at Maggie’s and they have some great prices on growler fills on the Ommegang Hennepin, Three Philosophers, and Adoration for all that are interested!
Interesting Talking Points of the Evening: Schuyler’s big belt, annoying neighbors with barnyard animals, the origin of condoms, and skinning eels.