Even though we’re in February, autumn isn’t over for me yet … apparently.
While my love for all things pumpkin has been raised numerous times, my recent trip to Delaware provided me with one last-ditch chance to enjoy a season I love so much thanks to a local beer store offering 25 percent off remaining fall seasonal bottles. Enter Ommegang’s Scythe and Sickle, a wonderful beer that honors the agricultural-driven history of my home region. It’s got an 87 on Beer Advocate.
Brewed with a hodge-podge of farming mainstays – barley, oats, wheat and rye – this harvest beer transported me back home while I sipped away.
With a deep amber pour, Scythe and Sickle certainly looked the part of a fall beer. It’s initial aromas were all malt-forward, sending smells of caramel and boozy cream up my nose. While it’s not entirely clear if Ommegang used spices in this beer or not, the rye, mixed with other grains, gives Scythe and Sickle an unmistakable earth-bound spiciness akin to nutmeg. Each sniff ended with a welcome scent of ripe, sweet Golden Delicious apple – a perfect aromatic addition for this fall beer.
That aspect was magnified in the taste, which was highlighted by the sweet/tart infighting of Empire apples. There’s a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon on each sip, but the rye gives this beer a true harvest flavor with a graininess held together by a malt bill that reminded me a bit of toast. I’d be curious to know what yeast was used for this beer – I’m assuming a Belgian style – as the bottle-conditioned beer had residual tastes of clove and maybe a touch of banana, if I wanted to strain and really think about it.
The most unique aspect of this beer is where it might find a seat among our lineup of fall beers. It lacks the baking-inspired intention of spiced or pumpkin beer and it’s use of grain (and yeast) makes it more complicated than an Oktoberfest. Either way, it’s worth seeking out next time the leaves change colors.
Scythe and Sickle stats:
- Malt/grains: Barley, oats, wheat and rye
- Hops: N/A
- Additives: N/A
- ABV: 5.8 percent
- Brewery: Ommegang of Cooperstown, NY