16 Days until the Bluffton Beer Festival and I’m thinking about Golden Monkey. No, not one of the exotic animals still on the loose up in Ohio, this one comes in a bottle … or if you’re lucky, on tap (unfortunately we won’t have it on tap, but I can still dream).
Golden Monkey is a beer in the style of a Belgian Tripel. You’ll hear lots of different theories, stories and misconceptions about the origin of the Tripel style. The truth is that no one really knows for sure. However, it is generally acknowledged that the term originated at the Trappist Brewery Westmalle in Belgium which produced the first, and arguably still the best Tripel. Westmalle’s most popular beer at the time was their Dubbel, a relatively strong, but restrained malty brown ale that is low in bitterness. As the introduction of pale yellow lagers began to spread across the world, people became less adventurous to drink a beer that they couldn’t see through, even in Belgium! Westmalle’s answer to this dilemma was a strong golden pale ale they called Superbier. As the beer grew in popularity, it was only natural that, as it was stronger than the Dubbel, it would come to be known as a Tripel, and to define a new unique beer style.
You’ll also hear stories about the Tripel using three times the malt as a simple beer, which may have some element of truth. Or other stories about a mysterious triple fermentation process (false). Some say it’s three times as good as other beers, and I know better than arguing with that.
Yes, we will have Westmalle Tripel at the festival, but wasn’t I talking about Golden Monkey?
Golden Monkey is a tasty interpretation of the Tripel style, with a bit more of a bite than the Westmalle … a little darker in color, heavier body, similar to the excellent Maredsous 10 Tripel.
The best thing about Golden Monkey is that it is widely available in this area, so you don’t have to wait for the festival to try it. As it says on the bottle, “A little Tripel do you”. (And as Mick Jagger said, “I am just a monkey man, I’m glad you’re just a monkey woman too”. And as my grandma always said, “Monkey See, Monkey Do.” I could give you quotes about monkeys all day … but please don’t make me. Let’s not become just another victim of the monkey conspiracy…)
Digressions aside … What I’m looking forward to more is a Victory brew that I have yet to taste … Yakima Glory. Reviews describe it as a darker (orangish-red) hoppy beer, a variation on the typical IPA with a more malty sweetness to provide balance with the aggressive hopping. Bring it on!
I understand we’ll also have Hop Devil and Prima Pils.
Hop Devil is an excellent IPA, and a frequent guest in my refrigerator. It never stays that long though, I guess it doesn’t like to impose. (And if you’re not familiar with the term IPA, I’m sure we’ll talk about it in a future post.)
For those that prefer fizzy yellow lagers, Prima Pils may turn out to be your new favorite beer. Brewed in the style of a German pilsener (the style to which all mainstream US beers aspire), it has a much stronger hop character and flavor.
Hmm … a fizzy yellow lager that you can actually taste, Victory might be on to something.
I’m looking forward to Saturday, November 5 …