1. INT. FRENCH BIVOUAC NEAR WATERLOO, DAY (CIRCA 1815)
EMPEROR NAPOLEON stands over a map of Waterloo, discussing strategy and tactics with three of his TRUSTED GENERALS. TRUSTED GENERAL 1 slices a block of cheese and sips wine.
TRUSTED GENERAL 1: This has gone on for far too long. We must surrender!
An embarrassed silence descends upon the tent, though the mood lightens when everyone realizes that TRUSTED GENERAL 1 will be chosen to lead the attack and thus almost surely die a horrifying death.
TRUSTED GENERAL 2 (rolling his eyes): We must take Château d'Hougoumont! It's... strategically important.
NAPOLEON: Non! We will use Hougoumont to draw Wellington's reserve to our left flank, then attack through the center right!
TRUSTED GENERAL 2: But sir, our troops need wine! We will surely find ample stores at the Hougoumont farmhouse. We must secure it immediately.
NAPOLEON: This is Belgium, you fool, that farmhouse makes beer, not wine!
TRUSTED GENERAL 3: That's good enough for me.
TRUSTED GENERAL 1: I concur. Once we have an ample supply of booze, we can surrender in style. I do not think any of you are considering the merits of a good, old fashioned surrender...
NAPOLEON: Non! Non! Non! Non! Who is the military genius here? Who amongst you has been summoned to the future for historical study, eh?!
TRUSTED GENERAL 2 (looking pained): Sir, with all due respect to Messieurs Bill and Ted, I do not think you can rely on your limited time with them. For all we know, you're famous for losing this battle!
NAPOLEON: Nonsense! I will take Waterloo and build an eighth wonder of the world based on my visions of the future, a water-park to inspire awe in all who witness its glory. Waterloo? Water park! This is no coincidence, it is fate!
TRUSTED GENERAL 1: You make a good point. I have been quite impressed by the visions you brought back from the future. I quite liked that... la glacé... what did you call it?
NAPOLEON: Ziggy Piggy.
TRUSTED GENERAL 1: Yes, magnifique! Let us make a Ziggy Piggy and surrender!
NAPOLEON: Non! Non! Non! We are not taking Hougoumont, and that is final. Beer is not worth taking.
2. INT. ENGLISH BIVOUAC NEAR WATERLOO, DAY (CIRCA 1815)
FIELD MARSHAL WELLINGTON stands over a map of Waterloo as a FIELD SCOUT returns from his mission.
SCOUT: Château d'Hougoumont is filled with beer. Apparently something called a Bière de Garde.
WELLINGTON (perking up): Beer? We must commit all our troops to taking Hougoumont! It is... strategically important.
3. EXT. BATTLE OF WATERLOO
The camera slowly PANS across the famous painting Battle of Waterloo by William Sadler.
KEN BURNS: And thus the fate of Battle of Waterloo was decided. By beer.
4. INT. COMPUTER DESK, EVENING
MARK: What? I'm pretty sure this is how it really happened. I realize this is too late for instruction, but if you read the above with horribly stereotyped French accents, it's much funnier.
HYPOTHETICAL READER: Isn't this supposed to be a beer blog?
MARK: Yeah, yeah, I'm getting to that. This is Ommegang's take on a Bière de Garde, brewed with a rather complex malt bill (apparently eight different varieties), French Ale Yeast, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on a combo of oak and maple staves. As Ommegang specialty brews go, it's actually rather expensive, but I'm a sucker for these guys (who were my first real introduction to the world of good beer), so let's get this party started:
Ommegang Biere D'Hougoumont - Pours a slightly hazy, burnt orange color with a finger of loosely bubbled off-white head. Smells of sweet fruits, maybe a little caramel, and musty Belgian yeast, with perhaps a hint of something else (maybe that's the wood coming through). Taste starts off with some rich caramel, followed by some spicy mustiness from the yeast, finishing surprisingly sweet and fruity. Mouthfeel is on the higher end of medium bodied, very well carbonated, dry at the start by yielding to sweetness in the finish (an unusual but pleasant reversal of the norm, which starts sweet and finishes dry). While very sweet, it never gets sticky or cloying, perhaps because of the strong (but not at all overwhelming) carbonation. This beer drinks big, but it goes down easy too. Not quite a summer thirst quencher, but a very nice fall beer. Overall, straightforward but very well crafted and balanced. B+
Beer Nerd Details: 7.3% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a goblet on 9/7/12.
Ommegang claims that this "malty French-style Farmhouse Ale is brewed to be aged" and that makes a certain sort of sense to me (and I'm not alone). I only bought the one bottle, but I may get another of these to add to the growing list of beers I'd like to cellar for a few years. Or not. I've established that I'm a weak, weak man when it comes to buying (er, hoarding) beer, but I'm also pretty lazy, so we'll see what wins out.