Ommegang Abbey Ale

When some breweries strive to make ambitious, richly flavored ales, their concoctions end up as downright weird beverages with only a passing similarity to the socially agreed-upon definition of beer. Brewery Ommegang's Belgian-style dubbel ale is spiced with coriander, sweet orange peel, star anise, licorice root, and cumin. It's easy to imagine an alternate universe in which a beer like this is an unwieldy and ill-advised creation. But we don't live in that universe. Instead, the Abbey Ale is pleasingly sweet and a little savory, with hints of chocolate and caramel and a citrusy snap on the finish. The spices blend into a coherent whole. It would be irresponsible to call something that packs an 8.2% alcohol punch a "session beer," but one of the many admirable qualities of the Abbey Ale is its immense drinkability. It would make an ideal after-dinner drink any day of the week.