This Belgian-style quadruple ale from Cooperstown, New York's Brewery Ommegang began as a dream. In 2001, Realbeer.com hosted an essay contest in which participants were asked to submit a detailed vision of a great, nonexistent beer. A Portland, Oregon, homebrewer named Noel Blake composed the winning entry, and Realbeer contracted Ommegang to realize his vision. If Three Philosophers were merely a classic Belgian dark ale, it would be excellent – a smooth, malty beer with enough hop bitterness to give it a kick. But the beer's genius rests in the fact that it's actually two beers in one – 98% Ommegang's Belgian-style quadruple ale and 2% Liefmans's Kriekbier, an authentically Belgian cherry ale. The addition of the kriek gives Three Philosophers a crucial tangy tinge, unifying the whole and bringing the rest of the flavors into sharper relief. Imagine the transformative effect of a perfectly applied dollop of truffle on a plate of homemade pasta, and you'll have a sense of what the addition of the kriek does to this transcendent ale. Three Philosophers is a must for autumn, a 9.7% ABV ale that should be mentioned loudly and ecstatically in any conversation about the best beer in America.
Gear of the Year
The best tools, tech, and toys of 2013.
Plus: Lance Armstrong's Downfall
ON NEWSSTANDS NOW
Sign up to receive the Men’s Journal newsletter and special offers from MJ and its marketing partners.