My story’s infinite, like the Gnomegang Symphonette 6

I had a package sitting on the table when I got home from work today.  Not sure if I had a night of Amazon shopping after a night of many beers, I didn’t know what to expect.  Inside, I found something that really made my day, something that put a big goofy smile on my face, a gift from my brother.

Not to put too fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet (If you don't follow, bear with me, I'll explain soon enough).

Since I’m in such a good mood, it seemed as good a time as any to pour a beer and enjoy a relaxing night.  Time to open something I picked up last week, a Gnomegang – a collaboration between Ommegang (a brewery that makes Belgian-style beers in Cooperstown, NY) and Brasserie d’Achouffe (a brewery that makes Belgian-style beers in Belgium).  I generally like Belgian beers, and I’ve liked the beers I’ve had from both breweries, so I was looking forward to trying this.  As luck would have it, I found it when I out hunting for another beer (another acquisition – Goose Island’s Big John, but that’s one I’m holding for a while).  A successful trip.

Gnomegang Collaboration Ale from Ommegang and Brasserie d'Achouffe

Gnome (La Chouffe's "mascot") + Ommegang = Gnomegang

So.  A Belgian Strong Pale Ale.  9.5% ABV.  A good one to get me ready for bed.  Like the Boulevard Smokestack Series beers, it’s in a corked and caged 750 ml bottle.  Unlike the Boulevard beers, the cork came out quite easily (now whenever I open a Smokestack Series bottle now, I just go straight for the pliers).

It poured into my goblet a cloudy light orange, almost yellow.  Thin cream head, dissipated quickly.  There’s a little lacing on the glass after a swirl, not much.  With the swirl, I got a whiff of the beer.  Yeasty, wheaty, with a hint of lemon, and more than a hint of bananas.

It’s got a pretty medium mouthfeel.  Not a robust body, but not thin.  Really. . . medium.  Man I’m awesome at this.  The Belgian yeast comes through, the banana flavor is prevalent in the taste.  A lot of the same stuff as in the aroma, with a slight twinge of alcohol, maybe some clove.  It’s not a standard pale (thanks Cap’n Obvious).  It’s a little heavier, more alcohol, much more complex flavor profile.  Breadier.  Honestly, this isn’t quite my thing.  Not a bad beer by any means, but I’m not sure it lives up to the hype, or my expectations.  I said as much on Twitter, and my esteemed colleague asked if I noticed a banana Laffy Taffy thing going on.  Well, now that he mentioned it, yes.  I smell it, and taste it.  It’s all I can get.  Maybe not quite so much in the flavor, that’s more of a banana bread Laffy Taffy, with hops.  It’s subtle, but it’s there.  As it warms, I get some olive.  It’s weird.  I’m not a big fan of olives, but I don’t really mind this.

Aroma: 3.9 This is sort of interesting.  I can’t get past the banana Laffy Taffy now.
Color: 4 It’s nice.  A little cloudy, but a good “beer”-looking beer.
Taste: 3.5 Again, it’s not my thing.  Again there’s Laffy Taffy.  I blame Joe.
Feel: 3.9 It’s average.  Maybe a little above average.

Overall: 3.8.  B-  Like I said, I’m kind of underwhelmed.  I wanted more out of this beer.  It’s not awful, at all.  Maybe I’m not a fan of Belgian Strong Pale Ales.  Others seem to like it, but others might not have someone telling them it’s Laffy Taffy.

For some tunes?  For a goofy-named beer, with a Laffy Taffy taste, what better than a happy-go-lucky song from They Might Be Giants!!

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This is one of my favorite songs.  “Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch/Who watches over you/Make a little birdhouse in your soul”  When I opened the box and saw the gift, it turned my day around.  So while this beer might not have been my favorite, it’s still a damn good day.  I hope it’s been as much for you!

  • MetsFanVI
  • Nat

    Good review. I found your blog searching for images of Gnomegang on google. Can I use your picture for my blog? ( I’d credit of course. I didn’t get to take one, used the same glass and everything (queue the Twilight Zone music). Your review is more descriptive than mine, but conclusion is the same. Good beer, but lacking given the collaborators involved.

    • Flenker

      Hey Nat, you’re welcome to use that image, hope you come back around in the future!

      Yeah, was really hoping for more from the beer. I’ve heard there’s a place here that will have it on tap soon, so I’ll have to give it a try, see how different it is

  • Michael Henry

    I have to be honest, I had this beer on tap a few weeks back and it forced my hand into drinking 2 of them back to back. I NEVER do this. In fact, I actually rate it up there in my top 5 favorite beers of all time. I also recently had a Jolly Pumpkin – Oro de Calabaza which rates in the top 5 for me. How fortunate to have two of my all time favs in a few weeks.

    • Flenker

      I’ve heard a rumor that there may be a place or two that gets a keg of it. I’d love to try it on tap! Oro de Calabaza is a favorite of mine too, I’m not sure I’ve had a bad beer from Jolly Pumpkin

      • MetsFanVI

        I just picked up 4 different bottles of Jolly Pumpkin. An Oro de Calabaza, a La Roja, an E.S. Bam, and a Bam Noire. They will all be cellared.