Tonight we are having the last of the three sixpack purchase I made not too long ago from the Village Liquors in New Lenox. This one caught my eye just due to the artwork and the name. The label depicted an east Indian style monkey with six extremities, three of which were positioned over its face as in the Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil depictions. The remaining extremity positions, as well as the overall meaning of the artwork is up for interpretation.
Two things put me on to this beer. The first was, as stated on the label, Tripel Ale. Ah, Belgian style with triple the malts. That’s what I have fermenting in the carboy right now. Secondly, the label stated that it had an ABV of 9.5%. Six bottles of a Belgian tripel style ale for 13 bucks. I remembered the price I paid for a couple of Chimay bombers a while ago, and this was still a deal. My choice for tonight’s review was Golden Monkey Tripel Ale brewed by the folks at the Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, PA.
To be honest, I hadn’t up until now heard of Victory Brewing. None of their beers are available in Morris. Yet right down I-80 in another town, there it was. I’m now learning the importance of the road trip (beer run) to get the full appreciation of what’s out there away from home. I’m also trying to understand the beer distributors and their territories.
What a great name: Victory. It conjures up all sorts of proud moments and great feelings within. It makes ya wanna put your hands on your hips, take a big breath of air and smile. Yeah. …then there’s the golden monkey thing.
The Golden Monkey is a species of Old World monkey found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, including four national parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga and Kahuzi-Biéga, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. It is restricted to highland forest, especially near bamboo.
Makes one wonder how and why they decided to name a beer after an African monkey, a Belgian style beer at that.
On to the bottle label:
A magical mystical Monkey whose golden soul glows with the wisdom of ages. This warming, flavored ale is rich in the spirited tradition of Belgian-inspired brewing. Our Golden Monkey is both playfully delightful and profoundly satisfying. Exotic spices from the East round out this global journey to joy. Get on board. This Monkey’s bound for glory!
On the broadside of the sixpack carton is the pun:
The tripel do you good!
Beer, weird and humor, all in a sixpack. Let’s begin.
The beer poured with the color of the sun, bright yellow. The liquid was slightly cloudy and tons of micro-bubbles slowly rose to the surface. They were everywhere inside the glass. The head came up a nice fluffy white but dissipated rather quickly. The aroma was that of some exotic malt. It smelled like it was going to taste great.
The first sip took me by surprise. It was quite meaty in the center with a very rich malty flavor. The taste covered my tongue wall to wall. It felt light to the taste yet rich in flavor. The Belgian malts used in this beer really gave it that unique European taste. There was no discernible hop slap at the swallow, but there was a nice crispness going down. I’m sure that was the carbonation doing its work.
At about the fourth or fifth sip, a nice sweetness came forward up front. Soon after, the slight spiciness came out rounding out the entire spectrum of tastes. It almost tasted fruity, but not a sweet fruity. Something like a tangerine or mandarin orange sweet. The taste will take your mouth by storm. This is really a class beverage.
What’s also surprising is that at 9.5% ABV, there was no alcohol burn in the mouth. But by the bottom of the first glass, the space heater in my gut kicked on Low. Soon thereafter, it felt as if the back of my throat had been sanded smooth with a high grit sandpaper. I imagined it to be nicely pink with a real smooth finish. Not uncomfortable at all, but a reminder as to the taste effects of perhaps the spiciness of this beer. This was truly becoming an adventure in taste.
I would agree with others that, compared to Chimay, this beer is a cheaper but worthy contender. Don’t let the 12-ounce bottles and the kitschy artwork fool you into believing that this is just another attempt at faking a Euro-style brew. Every drop of this golden liquid is loaded with fine, unique flavors. And once again, a beer made me glad to be alive and able to experience this wonderful taste.
Golden Monkey is definitely a sippin’ beer. It would be perfect after a hearty meal on cold winter day. It would substitute excellently in the place of a cuppa hot cocoa. It will quench your thirst while it plays nice games with your tongue. And… it will mellow you out. This is a two-bucks-a-pop beer that is well worth it. After four buck’s worth in your stomach, all will be right with the world.
Taste: A+ > A fist full of great taste.
Smoothness: B+ > This beer will really fool you.
Drinkability: B > I’d have another if I wasn’t already happy.
Bang for the buck: B > The sting will go away after the first sip.
ABV: 9.5% <– Be careful.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: (Unfortunately, she’s away to spend some time with her ailing mother. I’m home alone, drinking beer and writing this review in my underpants.)
Victory Brewing Co.