Archive for September, 2012

Ommegang Three Philosophers

Posted in Ale, Strong Ale with tags , , , , on September 21, 2012 by Steve

Ommegang Three Philosophers – Brewed by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY. – 9.8% abv

Let me preface this review by saying, I love Ommegang. I’ve only had a handful of brews by them (look for a review of their amazing Rare Vos next week) and they’ve all been great. Until now… (I can already hear the beer snobs at Beer Advocate digging for their pitchforks now)

Three Philosophers is a “unique blend of a Belgian-style strong dark ale and Liefmans Kriek, an authentic cherry ale from Belgium.” It’s described as being 98% ale, 2% ale with cherries. Naturally, I purchased the bottle based on the reputation of Ommegang, the other brews by them I’ve enjoyed, and all the good things I’ve heard about Three Philosophers. It’s cherries for gods sake, who doesn’t like cherries?!

Well, I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I cringed at the first taste of a beer. I can also honestly say, I can’t remember that last time I couldn’t force myself to muscle down the rest of it. I got to about half a glass before I tapped out. It’s something about the taste. It reminds me of the Dogfish Head 120 min IPA, with it’s real strong alcohol taste, but 120 min IPA is closing in at 20% alcohol for god’s sake, not 9.8. You expect it with the DFH 120 min. I’ve had PLENTY of beers around the 9-10% range that don’t give you that pure alcohol taste. Maybe my man card isn’t up to snuff, but I like to enjoy my beers, and my palate just wasn’t ready for this one.

Please though, don’t take my word for it. Give it a try. Despite them being beer snobs, they are pretty knowledgeable, and Beer Advocate currently has this as one of the top rated beers there. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, plenty of people do! For me, though, thank goodness I had a bottle of Rare Vos on hand to help fix my thirstiness.

Ommegang, if you read this, I still love you. Your Rare Vos and Witte are delicious!

Final Rating – (1 Pint)

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Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut Down Ale

Posted in Ale, American Ale, Imperial Ale with tags , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by Steve

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut Down Ale – Brewed by Lagunitas Brewing Company out of Petaluma, CA – 9.8% abv

First, lets give a little back-story. This beer was brewed by Lagunitas in remembrance of the “2005 St Patrick’s Day Massacre”. Massacre you say?! Nope, calm down. As it turns out, in 2005, Lagunitas was having one of their regular Thursday night tastings when a “good samaritan” (read: asshole) spotted someone outside the brewery enjoying a little reefer (medical marijuana was/is “legal” and the stuff accounts for a major % of the economy in that area) and called the cops. For the following 8 weeks, the police conducted an investigation into the brewery, thinking they were selling weed out of it, sending undercover cops in there on Thursdays trying to score some pot.  Many offered it to them for free, but nobody ever tried to make a sale. Needless to say, it failed, cops got pissed, and on St. Patrick’s Day arrested a few people on some minor pot possession charges (later dropped). They then suspended Lagunitas’ alcohol license for 20 days.

“We brewed this especially bitter ale in dedication to all the world’s would-be astronauts, in remembrance of the 2005 St. Patrick’s Day Massacre on the Brewery Party Grounds and also in joyous celebration of our 20-day suspension that following January. Do the crime. Do the time. Get the bragging rights. Cheers.” – Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale label

So now onto the beer. The brew itself is pretty freaking good. Not as bitter as I was expecting. Definitely has that hoppy taste but no real aftertaste or bitterness one would find in an IPA or other ales. To be fair, this isn’t an IPA but you never know with Lagunitas. Very good ale right from the start. It’s self described an “oxymoronic imperial mild ale”. It makes sense. It has those tastes one wouldn’t expect from an imperial or IPA but right no bite.

Has a nice red color, some hints of caramel and toffee right before you get that warmth from the alcohol itself (it is 9.8% after all). A couple swigs and I can feel a slight buzz already. This brew is actually considered an American Strong Ale, or an Imperial Red Ale. Halfway through, it starts to get even tastier. Maybe I’m just thirsty but its starting to go down quicker. For the amount of alcohol, it  isn’t overbeating either which is nice.

I love Lagunitas. I’ve had multiple offerings from them and they are generally on top of the game. This beer doesn’t wow me, but it’s another solid offering from a brewery that just can’t help but create delicious beers.

Final Rating – (4 Pints)