Beer: Belgian National Day Ale
Brewery: Brewery Ommegang (Cooperstown, NY)
Style: Belgian Tripel
8.9% ABV / N/A IBU
There is no official beer-drinking component to celebration of the events of July 21, 1831, the day Belgium separated from the Netherlands and King Leopold I ascended to the throne as the country’s first monarch. Outside of Belgium, especially in countries where a royal family is a foreign concept, Belgian National Day is a convenient excuse for tap takeovers and pouring a stiff accompaniment for moules frites.
In truth, every day is a fine time to reach for a Belgian beer. But if you’re burned out on Chimay and La Chouffe, Cooperstown’s Brewery Ommegang has the answer for you: The limited-release Belgian National Day Ale, a revamped version of the Belgian Independence Day beer they started brewing in 2015. Amazingly, the Belgian devotees at Ommegang have not already introduced Belgian tripel to its core line-up, which does include an untraditional dubbel (Abbey Ale, aged on licorice root and orange peel) and an equally untraditional quad (Three Philosophers—actually a blend of a quad and a cherry kriek).
Malt-wise, Belgian National Day Ale presents as a more traditional Belgian tripel—it has the sweetness you would expect from then malts in a strong golden ale, plus the dry finish associated with the style. Belgian National Day Ale pours a beautiful amber color (use a tulip glass if you can), with medium carbonation and a slow-to-dissipate head. Double dry-hopping provides a bitter kick, with the floral notes of the Styrian hops favored by Belgian brewers. As North American tripels go, Belgian National Day Ale is the top of the class among Ommegang’s Belgian offerings and a strong competitor to Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde and Allagash’s Tripel —both world-class competitors.
For more info, check out Brewery Ommegang here.