April 29, 2008

Brew Review: Ommegang Three Philosophers

Ommegang is America's foremost Belgian-style brewer. They are good, and every beer fan should be tasting some of what they offer. Tonight's offering was another solid example of the unique craftwork achieved in the Belgian style.

The Three Philosophers is their "Quadrupel" beer. Their description says:
Created by blending a rich, malty, Belgian-style ale with authentic Kriek, a classic cherry-Lambic from Belgium.

Got it? Oddly, if this was purely a Belgian-style ale I wouldn't have enjoyed it. The blended beers did much to make this an interesting beer. Overall I wasn't blown away and there are some things less enjoyable that can be noted, but overall the craftsmanship stands out.

I did things a little different tonight, pouring the 12 oz bottle into a 10 oz specialty glass from Stone Brewing (obtained at a "Double Bastard Ale" event at their brewery/restaurant a while back). It poured a cloudy gold to brown color, with minimal head that acted up a bit before rapidly dissolving. There was some light carbonation, but the beer was still active and alive without a heavy bubble presence. Hmm ...

The best thing about this beer was its aroma. It smelled like cider, raisins, apple, spice, and a lot more I couldn't quite pin down. It was intoxicating and I spent a good deal of time taking that all in. That's fairly unusual so far in my beer tasting experiences, so I made the most of it.

As far as taste, it had a certain weird thing going on at the back of my tongue, it was sort of harsh and that was a bit of a fight. Still, the taste was more mild than the aroma and had to be appreciated with a little bit of time. As several reviewers at Beer Advocate noted and the bottle advises, this should be served at about 50 degrees. It certainly improved as I let it warm up. The cherry Lambic part of this brew was quite mild initially, but presented in earnest once it warmed up. That helped things quite a bit, and should provide guidance for the next go-round.

Overall this beer rated a 4.11 by Beer Advocate readers, well above average.

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