Ommegang Rare VOS

October 25, 2011

Ommegang Rare Vos The World Series is upon us, and instead of discussing whose lineup has the edge, we’re worried that key members of the Boston Red Sox may or may not have drunk beer during games. ESPN ran a report quoting starting pitcher Jon Lester saying he drank in the clubhouse on days he wasn’t pitching. Next came the word that it was Lester and fellow starters Josh Beckett and John Lackey hanging out in the clubhouse on off days. Now the three are being accused of bringing beer into the dugout.

If it was on days where they absolutely weren’t scheduled to pitch, then there really shouldn’t be any controversy, vicious rumor or Bible truth. Players are fans, too.

Baseball managers use their starting pitchers on a strict set number of days apart for health reasons, so it’s not like any one of the three accused would suddenly get called into the game. I say let them kick back and enjoy a brewski.

I can fondly recall my trip to Wrigley Field back in ’98. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were chasing down the home-run record, and I had a chance to see the Cubbies on a gorgeous day in July. There were beer vendors strolling the concourses calling out, “Get’cher ice-cold Old Style here!” in that charming Northerner accent. I took the vendors’ advice and had an Old Style and a hot dog while watching the Cubs lose.

Baseball and beer are as eternally linked as meat and potatoes or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, so why the controversy? I believe it’s more to do with the stigma of beer being a cheap source for anyone to get obnoxiously drunk by.

We can thank decades of watered-down macro beer juggernauts portraying the average drinker as puerile buffoons in TV ads. Monkey see, monkey do — life imitates art, and now grown men are being yelled at for allegedly having a cold one on an off day. Beer can be sophisticated and not just a vehicle for “Animal House”-like rambunctiousness.

While we’re on the topic of baseball and beer, it’s apropos we try out a beverage from Brewery Ommegang, located in the Baseball Hall of Fame home of Coopers­town, N.Y. Named after a bar in Brussels, Rare Vos is bottle-conditioned ale the color of hazy orange-copper and delivers a frothy off-white head. Elements of yeast, orange blossom and biscuity malt show up on the nose with tiny hints of brown sugar and banana. Peppery notes of herbal hops show up at the finish, balancing out the cereal malt, apricot and citrus flavors while abundant carbonation sizzles around the mouth.