Duvel Moortgat Brewery, Breendonk, Belgium
In Brewery Ommegang's world and that of fans of Belgian beers, the brewery's sale to Duvel in 2003 wasn't a crisis: It was an honor.
Ommegang has been committed to brewing Belgian styles since 1997 and takes great pride in its farmhouse-style brewery, its barreling process and the fact that founders Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield had Duvel and other family-owned Belgian breweries in on the project from the beginning. The brewery was cranking out witbier, Saison, quadrupel and abbey ale before all but the savviest U.S. brewers had taken their first trip to the Belgian abbeys.
Duvel actually pitched in on Ommegang's beers in 2006 to help meet demand, but Ommegang's been doing well enough on its own. It distributes to all but seven U.S. states, it exports to Canada and hosts huge Belgian beer festivals and cyclocross races in its hometown each year. Though the mainstream knows it largely as the brewer
teamed with to make a line of licensed beers for HBO's
Game Of Thrones,
Ommegang has more than held its own under Duvel's decade of ownership.
The Brewers Association doesn't consider it "craft" as a result, but it's perhaps the one non-craft brewer the group has openly complimented on its quality. For a U.S. brewer that's Belgian at heart, that's a lovely, happy medium.