Beer review: Ommegang's Three Philosophers
About the brewery
Cooperstown is known more for baseball than Belgians, so Brewery Ommegang astounds purists across the globe with a fantastic collection of ales inspired by their beer-crazy European brethren. Each of the brewery's labels mimics a traditional style - from a light-hearted saison to a citrusy witbier to the dark, complex Three Philosophers.
About the beer
In a way, Three Philosophers is actually two beers in one. A strong, malty ale is combined with a small dose of Belgian beer called kriek. To make kriek, brewers add sour cherries to a cloudy, sour ale called lambic and allow the mix to ferment again. Sound bizarre? You've probably enjoyed framboise, which is made by adding raspberries to lambic.
Why to drink it
Complexity is king with Belgian beers, and Three Philosophers doesn't disappoint. By itself, the base ale would provide a malty, bready elixir that's impressively smooth and delightfully rich. Adding kriek brings out the taste of dark, rich fruit at the peak of ripeness. Slightly nutty flavors and tantalizing carbonation only bolster the mix.
What to drink it with
A lot's going on in this beer, so pairings abound. Because of its bready character and slight fruitiness, sip it with a good chunk of brie baked into a puff pastry.
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Brewery: Brewery Ommegang
Beer: Three Philosophers
Type: Belgian-style quadrupel
ABV: 9.8 percent
Grade: 3 of 4 stars
Palmer's Beverage Center
3375 Indianola Ave., Clintonville
$9 for 25-ounce bottle