Review: Ommegang Three Philosophers

Last year Nate was driving from Colorado back to Michigan, and I offered him a place to crash as he passed through Chicago. It was a Friday night. At my previous job, we got out at noon on Fridays, and that particular day I had to go down to the DMV in the Loop. Since it was also Chicago Craft Beer Week, I figured, why not bar crawl my way back up to my place? I don’t get down to that area all that often, and there were some places I was interested in going.

I IMed Tim throughout the day, and finally sent him a custom Google Map of my route. This proved helpful, since on my bar crawl, I happened to be overserved. Couple that with my phone dying, and Nate got into to town and had no where to go. He called Tim, who used the map to play detective and called up the places I had been earlier that. Unfortunately, that didn’t help too much that much, since I was passed out on my couch.

Eventually (around 1a) I woke up, called Nate, and brought him up to my apartment, apologizing profusely along the way. We stayed up for a while, drank a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru, and eventually passed out around 6a.

What does this delightful story have to do with the beer in question? Well, at some point on my impromptu bar crawl, I ended up stopping at a bottle shot and picking up a mixed six pack, including Three Philosophers. I had seen it at Binny’s a few times, and been tempted, but I didn’t want to pull the trigger on a $12 bomber. This option was a 12oz bottle, presumably for less (my inhibitions were limited at that point anyway).

I’ve been meaning to drink it for a while, but haven’t for one reason or another. It’s actually a 2010 vintage, which means it’s been aging for at least 18 months. This makes it the longest cellaring project I’ve ever done. Maybe it comes with maturity. I have a couple bottles of Russian River along with a Two Brothers Hoodwink that I’m sitting for a while. Anyway, on to the review…

Tasting Notes

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Appearance: The beer pours smooth and viscous. It’s coppery with hints of ruby where the light strikes it. It had a two finger, thick, khaki head that gracefully laced down to a thin layer on top.

Aroma: The aroma is heavy with tart cherry with a sweet malty backbone. There’s a background suggestion of the alcohol heat as well.

Taste: The cherrie’s aren’t as heavy in the taste. Instead there is a raisin/prune flavor from the malt (Special B? Dark Crystal?). The malt really shines throughout the taste of this beer, and helps tamp down the alcohol heat. That heat is felt, rather than tasted, which is always welcome. The finish is where the cherries come in. For a rich beer, it finish with a very clean, slightly tart flavor from the cherries. Very nice. I’m letting it warm as I drink it. I’m hoping some more flavors may appear.

Mouthfeel: This beer is silky smooth and has some weight to it. Definitely one to sip slowly and enjoy.

Overall: I’m not sure it’s necessary for me to say this is a good beer. That seems to be an established fact. I had never had this beer before tonight, despite having the bottle for over a year, and first resolving to try it over two years ago. All in all, it was worth the wait. It had a lot of hype to live up to and met it easily. I am glad I only have 12oz bottle instead of a bomber, though.

Review: Avery’s The Reverend

I’ve only had one other Avery beer. I noted that I skip over the Avery bombers at my local Binny’s. This is odd, since I liked the Kaiser, they’re very competitively priced, and I even enjoy the names of most of their beers (I’m a well known sucker for puns/clever names). I figured it was time to give it another go last time I was at the beer store.

Avery describes it thusly:

The Reverend, was created in tribute to the life of Sales Mgr. Tom Boogaard’s grandfather, an ordained Episcopal Reverend. Tom was inspired by the life of his grandfather and wanted to create a tribute beer that contained his sterling traits. True to both our “small brewery, BIG BEERS” philosophy and to the spirit and character of the departed Reverend, this beer is strong willed, assertive, and pure of heart, a heart of candy sugar. It contains as many authentic imported Belgian specialty malts as the brewers could cram into our mash tun, and lots of Belgian dark candy sugar stirred into the brew kettle. A divinely complex and beautifully layered beer with hints of dark cherries, currants, and molasses, complimented by an underlying spiciness. Sinfully smooth considering the high alcohol content. Cellarable for up to 4 years.

Not to spoil my tasting notes, but I can only hope that it would get better after a few years in the cellar. I kind of doubt it though, as cellaring seems to bring out the sweetness and alcohol more, which this beer really doesn’t need.

Avery Brewing's The Reverend Belgian Style Quadrupel

Belgian Style Quadrupel 10% ABV

Appearance: Reddish, coppery brown and very clear. Some bubbles continue to percolate up throughout the drinking. A 1 finger, creamy head quickly died down, but a thin layer remained.

Aroma: The aroma is dominated with a fruity, berry sweetness with a bit of apple tartness. There’s also a hint of hot alcohol in the nose.

Taste: There’s a cloying sweetness and an apple-y, berry flavor. There’s a malty sweetness that comes along with the fruit flavor. There’s not really any bitterness and very little presence of yeast characteristics like spice or esters. There’s a actually a lingering spice and alcohol heat in the aftertaste that helps to balance out the incredible sweetness. Helps.

Mouthfeel: Nice a creamy, but not too chewy. The carbonation level is pretty good. I’m barely down the glass, and I’m already feeling this. I’m not sure what this has to do with the mouthfeel, but there it is.

Overall: Luckily I drank this as a dessert beer, because it really is overly sweet. I really liked the last Avery bomber I picked up, but this one really misses the mark. It doesn’t have what I really love about belgians, the complex flavors and aromas that the yeast gives off. This just has fruity sweetness followed by malty sweetness followed by alcohol. I won’t be getting this one again.