Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste - Cuvée des Jacobins Prestige
Serving Temperature:42-55° F
Suggested Glassware:Tulip, Snifter, Goblet
Cuvée des Jacobins’ more common beer, Rouge, and this month’s selection, Prestige, are brewed in the tradition of Flemish sour ales, undergoing mixed fermentation with Cerevisiae ale yeast as well as wild Brettanomyces yeast and Lactobacillus, the latter responsible for the style’s pronounced sourness. While the standard Rouge is aged for 18 months, the higher-ABV Prestige is aged over 24 months in huge barrels known as “foeders” which hold several hundred gallons, and the final beer is blended from multiple foeders to achieve the brewers’ desired character. Do be sure to use a glass for this one – this just isn’t the kind of beer one can swig from the bottle. Prestige presents a moderate red-amber hue in our glass (quite a bit lighter than the deeply red Rouge) topped with a plentiful crop of foam. A sour impression in the aroma is easily noticeable, adorned with impressions of red fruits and stone fruits. Some earthy and rather musty notes pop through as well, along with a touch of oaky vanilla. As with all sour ales of this type, the first sip can be bracing, but our palates adapt in short order. The brewery recommends serving around 40-43° F, but we often enjoy this style at more of a cellar temperature, as we feel it brings out the sweetness and makes for a truly savory impression. In the flavor, look for waves of plum, cherry and other stone fruits, dried berries, and green apple, accompanied by hints of toffee, balsamic, spice, and a dash of vanilla, along with a note of Brettanomyces-driven funk to accompany the much more dominant lacto sourness. There’s a real sweet & sour character here as those core flavors balance each other, but the sour edge ultimately prevails, cleansing the palate in the finish and beckoning another sip. For food pairings, we’d steer toward roasted venison or other game, stews, Boeuf Bourguignon, buttery lobster, shrimp, or prawns, sharp aged cheeses, cedar plank salmon, or roast duck in cherry sauce. Cheers!
The family brewery bearing the name of Omer Vander Ghinste was founded in 1892 when Remi Vander Ghinste bought a house, along with accompanying buildings, for his son Omer. The 23-year-old Omer began brewing that same year, producing a traditional Flemish sour ale he called Ouden Tripel – which is still produced today under the name Vanderghinste Roodbruin. Omer distributed barrels of his beer throughout the area around his town of Bellegem via horse and carriage. In 1901, Omer married Marguerite Vandamme, the granddaughter of the founder of another local brewery named Brasserie LeFort. They soon had a son, who they also chose to name Omer. Little could they know it would be a theme that would repeat throughout the next century as Omer after Omer were born into this brewing family, solidifying the brand name. When Marguerite’s grandfather Felix died in 1911, she inherited both his brewery and his many pubs and cafes, leading to a significant increase in the young couple’s business and an increase in brewing operations at their Bellegem brewhouse, which took over all of LeFort’s production.
During World War I, Omer stayed for a short period in Paris where he lived near a Dominican monastery dating to 1218 named Hospice Saint-Jacques in the Rue des Jacobins. It was this experience that inspired his creation of this month’s selection, Cuvée des Jacobins, which ushered in a growing array of new beers including the creation of a popular Czech-style pilsner in 1929. 1933 saw the birth of Omer III, who would go on to take over operations in the 1960s. In 1964, Omer IV was born, and he joined the business in the early ‘90s around the time that Omer V was born in 1993.
This family brewery currently produces a number of traditional Belgian ales which have been repeatedly recognized for excellence with numerous Gold medals at the World Beer Cup, the World Beer Awards, and the European Beer Star Awards, among others. Whether it be blonde ale, tripel, witbier, pilsner, wild ale, or their various strong ales and sours, Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste produces truly world-class beers, and it’s our distinct pleasure to bring you one of our favorites this month. Enjoy!
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