So hold on just one minute, now you’re posting about beer!?!? I thought you were the wine snob food guy…
Yup, I sure am, but my love of craft beer actually predates my love of wine. While fermented grape juice has since become my liquid soul mate, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the brewed stuff. In fact, after hanging out with my good buddy Sean and his lovely family yesterday, I realized just how much I missed beer! Because of this I knew that my next article had to be my first ever posting of “A beer you should know…”. One of the beers that popped into my head was the first beer that made my palate do cartwheels… Ommegang’s Three Philosophers, which I had for the first time about 14 years ago. Unfortunately I didn’t have a bottle in the fridge, and I couldn’t get out of the house due to some water heater troubles… But apparently the beer gods were looking down on me and smiling because who comes knocking on my door, my brother-in-law Shaun, and what does he have in his hands??? Oh just a belated birthday present for me that just so happened to be a 750ml of Three Philosophers! I can’t make this stuff up, it must be the luck of the 1/4 Irish on St. Patrick’s weekend… lol.
Not only is Three Philosophers one of my all time favorite beers, but Ommegang is one of my absolute favorite breweries. Their beers are amazing, and they’re in Cooperstown! I mean, how cool is that?!?
They established their brewery in Cooperstown, NY in 1997 for two reasons, neither of which was baseball related. First and foremost, Cooperstown was once THE place for hop production in the United States. Secondly, Cooperstown has very high quality water aquifers. What are two of the most important ingredients in beer? That’s right, hops and water. So when a 136 acre hop farm went up for sale, they hopped on it (pun most definitely intended), and boy am I glad they did.
Three Philosophers is a Belgian-style Quadrupel. While most Belgian beers are blonde in color, specifically Dubbels and Tripels, Quadrupels are traditionally darker, malty, and pretty high in alcohol (between 9-13% ABV). Truthfully, many times they’re a bit overblown in my opinion. They tend to drink very hot and take on a bourbon characteristic in the mouth. This is where Three Phil’s is different, and why I love it so… They blend 2% cherry lambic into their Quad, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it really helps add lift, complexity and cuts through that hot richness.
So let’s get to what you can expect from the beer. First of all, DO NOT pour this into a pint or pilsner, or even *gasp* drink it from the bottle! This is meant to be drank from a goblet or a snifter. In the glass you’ll find a medium-to-full bodied beer with dark caramel color and a thick tan head. On the nose you’ll find notes of maraschino cherry, milk chocolate, yeast bloom and molasses. The palate follows suit, but does also have a touch of that “bourbon burn”, from mid palate into the long lingering finish, that you would expect from a beer at 9.7%. However, as stated before, that hint of cherry and acidity from the lambic really helps balance the heat from the alcohol.
So let’s talk food… You need big flavors to stand up to this bad boy. Think dishes like grilled ribeye, beef stew, 70/30 burgers, pulled pork with molasses, and country ribs. However, you can also pair this with cheese accompanied by dried fruits and jams, or even milk chocolate and cherry based desserts. So in my eyes it’s pretty versatile.
Just one word of caution, at 9.7% alcohol this beer can kick your ass in a hurry. PLEASE consume responsibly. If you are having more than one glass and you’re out and about it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have someone else drive.
So that’s my first ever beer review, I hope you liked it. New content will be coming very soon. In the meantime crack open a craft brew, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!