Saturday, January 29, 2011

Victory Golden Monkey

I’ve been drinking so many black beers lately that I felt it was time for a change. I was in a beer rut. Every night it was roasty, dark malts and coffee/chocolate notes. That’s usually my thing, but I needed one evening of light and sweet to re-charge my beer batteries. I’ll surely go back to the porters and stouts and dark ales, for it is that time of the year. But last night I had a hankering for something golden and sugary. So I walked into the beer store with a purpose. And there it was right in front of me. The Golden Monkey. Exactly what I was craving! It may only be the fifth or sixth best beer on the Victory roster, but that’s kind of like being the fifth or sixth best player on the Pittsburgh Steelers. You’re still talking All-Pro caliber. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Lawrence Timmons of beers.

If there’s any bad rap associated with the Golden Monkey, it’s that it’s a Belgian-style tripel that pales in comparison to tripels that are actually made in Belgium. Fair enough, I suppose - especially when you consider that Victory makes a German pilsner that beats even the Germans! So if you’re expecting a world class, definitive tripel, look elsewhere. But if you’re seeking a sweet, malty, American-ized Belgian that provides a warming alcoholic kick but still goes down crazy smooth, the Golden Monkey is not to be missed! Like all the Victory beers, it flat-out tastes good. If not an authentic tripel, it’s at least one of the most drinkable Belgian-style craft beers on the American market. Candied, fruity (banana is the big note here), and bready thanks to those extraordinary Belgian yeasts, the Monkey adds 2-row German malts, spices from Asia, and an herbal hop presence that comes through winningly on the back end. At a power-packed 9.5 percent ABV, the Monkey gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling within just a few sips. I sit in my recliner, drink, and reflect on how good life is. It’s a beer so sweet and refreshing you might be tempted to take it on as your new summer beer, finally kicking Corona to the curb. But no sane person would recommend the Monkey for sessioning - one or two of these will have you down for the count! It’s actually a great beer for the winter because of how quickly and delightfully it warms body and soul. It’s sweet yet wonderfully complex, a tad boozy yet silky-smooth going down. Hoppier and a little less yeasty than all-those world class tripels, the Golden Monkey is best judged on its own merits. And those merits can be summed up in one word: delicious.

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