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…
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.