I gave my bro-in-law some beer as a Christmas present, which is pretty much a ‘bowling ball’ present. We drank them together last night. They might have been two of my favorite beers of all time.
I don’t like tripels usually. Belgian tripels are usually too sweet for me. That Belgian yeast — not the saison yeast, usually Brettomyces in America, but the trappist strains — just gets to me in the back of the throat. Cloying, I’d call it.
Victory Brewing‘s Golden Monkey does not taste like your typical Belgian tripel. Yes, it’s 9.5% ABV, and yes, it has some sweetness, and yes, it is still ‘of’ the style. But whether it’s a little extra hops (Victory is an American company after all), or a little more ‘sourness’ to the beer, Golden Monkey’s finish is not the same crazy-sweet finish you might associate with a tripel. In other words, if you’d tried tripels, and haven’t really liked them, but then this one is on your menu… you might want to give it a shot. I really enjoyed this beer, even if the scores are up and down and the community isn’t 100% behind it.
But the next beer was epic no matter who you ask.
The Eclipse series of stouts from 50/50 Brewing in Truckee takes different bourbon barrels in order to age their honey-chocolate bast stout. We had the Elijah Craig 12-year, and it was outstanding. If you smell the beer, you get bourbon. Your first taste of the beer has some of that bourbon in it, but then you get a nice thick malty-roasty stout flavor in the middle. The finish? Out of this world. I’ve seen some call it ‘chocolate twizzlers,’ or ‘pecan pie,’ but all I can say is that I tasted chocolate, honey, and some sort of homey, yes dessert-y, food. Delicious food. But not so thick that you wonder if you are eating or drinking, just the memory of a great pie you once had, mixed with your favorite bourbon, delivered by the great beer in your hand.
Both of these beers are expensive. Both of these beers are worth it for a special occasion.