Ommegang Cup O Kyndnes
The things you learn from a beer bottle label - did you know that during World War I, Belgian brewers emulated the brewing style of their Scottish allies to make their time away from home a little more pleasant? This explains why Brewery Ommegang, whose niche is brewing the most authentic Belgian beers on this side of the pond, added Cup O Kyndnes, a dark Scottish ale, to their Specialty Brew series. Following up on the release of Zuur, a pucker-inducing oude bruin, this limited release is certainly as far on the other end of the spectrum as I imagine we'll see out of Cooperstown for a long time.
Cup O Kyndnes pours a full body with stains of deep burgundy and cherry wood, with an imposingly stubborn khaki head that's probably more closely derived from the Belgian influence than from the Scottish. The aroma changes this impression, presenting a thick, bready bouquet of sweets and syrups broken up only by some clean hints of alcohol fusels (despite a safe 6.2% abv). The flavor is more of the same, alternating between an initial barrage of malty sweetness, followed by a bit of smoky dryness, and finishing strong with notes of toffee and dark, ripe fruits. Maximize your enjoyment of this thick elixir by popping the cage and cork of a 750 ml bottle outdoors on one of these chilly autumn evenings, preferably with a bonfire burning.
Personally, I'm pretty gratified to see Ommegang explore the fringes of Belgian brewing styles. With their strong takes on the standards, like Hennepin and Three Philosophers, juxtaposed with some of the more contemporary experiments coming from Belgian brewers like De Struise, the sky seems to be the limit here. I'm looking forward to their next limited release - maybe they'll surprise us with a lambic or Russian Imperial Stout!
About Beer Geek Steve:
Steve spends as much time as his wife will let him tracking down rare beers and trying to analyze the intersection between quality beer, hype, and viral marketing. When he's not reviewing beer for Drink Philly, he writes about his adventures in chasing bottles and taps at his blog, Beer Geek Steve. You can also follow him on Twitter, where he tweets about happenings in the craft beer industry and often locates some of the best barrels in southeast PA.
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