Last issue we brought you beer brewed with weasel shit. This month, we really couldn’t top that as far as a weird ingredient goes. So instead, we are bringing you a new unique aging process thanks to our friends at Ommegang in upstate New York. Rather than just letting cases of beer sit in their basement and age for a few years, Ommegang decided to take things one step lower and enlist the support of a local renown cave called Howe Caverns which is located 45 minutes from the brewery.
One day in the middle of each winter, when it is absolutely freezing up there, 280 cases of beer are transported to Howe Caverns. The beer is then left there, 40 meters underground, for 9 months. Due to the constant cave temperature of 52 degrees, even though the beer is being aged for 9 months, it will still taste fresher than a beer that was just cellar aged for the same amount of time. In addition, it will have that mellowed, complex flavor that makes aged beer so great. 52 degrees is also considered to be the perfect temperature to bring out the most complexity out of the aging process. This process is one that has been used in regions of France for centuries to age fine champagnes. Ommegang cave ages three of their beers; Abbey Dubbel, Hennepin, and Three Philosophers.
The easiest way to obtain these beers is by making a road trip up to New York and visiting the brewery, as they are not commonly distributed beyond the gift store. If you do find a bottle, be warned, they are not the prettiest, as they have good amount of cave mold covering them. It will get you dirty, but it’s well worth it once you try them.