My First Beer as a Father
To celebrate the birth of our first child and daughter, I opened this bottle of 2011 Three Philosophers Quadrupel by Brewery Ommegang in New York, a wedding gift last year from good friend Concon San Antonio. A two-year aged Ommegang Abbey Ale Dubbel was the best of its style that I’ve tried, a bottle share back when Global Beer Exchange held its Thirstday events in Craft Pub and Grill. I’ve tried a couple of their Game of Thrones releases, but felt mostly underwhelmed given the high bar that the Dubbel set. Apparently, Ommegang’s Belgian-style ales really do get better with age.
My wife and I enjoyed this on our first day home from the hospital, when baby was already four days old, as Mommy had to undergo an emergency Caesarean section after labor had not progressed for several hours. It turned out to be a cord coil preventing baby from descending any further. Thankfully, both mother and daughter were safe and healthy. On their tenth day checkups, their doctors praised baby’s growth and mommy’s recovery. More reason to celebrate!
We decided to wait until our child’s birth before opening this special bottle. It didn’t hurt either that a Trappist-style strong Belgian Ale is one of the beer styles that work best with aging. I kept this inside the fridge door in order to keep the temperature from getting too low (as it would in the back of the refrigerator).
Aside from being a special brew for a special occasion, several (coincidental) meanings can be gleaned from this blend of 98% ale and 2% ale with cherries: Belgian dark ales are among my lovely wife’s favorite beers. Her first real beer was Chimay Rouge, which I made her try on our first not-quite-date. 2011 was the year we got back in touch before we started (finally) going out, and then going steady. Finally, the Three Philosophers designation is also somewhat apt, as baby’s parents are both philosophy graduates, and her arrival makes us a family of three. Hopefully she will grow up to live a well-examined life and enjoy rigorous analysis and loving struggles with texts, as well.
The head vanishes quickly, possibly due to the oxidation brought by age. The aroma is of dried fruits and berries, and is echoed on the palate. The alcohol packs a punch but is barely noticeable. Complex, as with any quad, but made mild with age, and more interesting by the cherry blend.
We recorked the bottle, as I limited myself to one drink and mommy had to make do with a few sips as she was on antibiotics and breastfeeding (although one drink is supposed to be allowable). I opened the bottle again the next night for a nightcap along with some homemade chicken liver parfait (to help Mommy boost her iron intake, but which mostly goes into Daddy’s tummy) on toast. As expected, carbonation was gone but for a thin layer of bubbles. Nonetheless, this was still a delightful counterpoint to cut the richness of the parfait. This was a surprising pairing that I quite enjoyed, with the quad acting like a fruity but still mostly dry, medium-bodied red wine.
This was a lovely beer, but unfortunately, quite impossible to find here in the Philippines. Thanks again to Concon for this fantastic present.