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Beer Review: Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk

by Collin Keefe on Aug 12, 2013 in Beer
Beer Review: Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk

The ongoing effort to merge the big-ass, hoppy taste of an American IPA with the more exotic spice of a Belgian pale ale brings us Grumpy Monk, the Boston Brewing Company’s send up of the increasingly familiar hybrid style. It’s a seasonal one-off that’s part of Sam Adams’ ongoing roll-out of limited-release beers. And though it shows up late to this American-Belgo party — Urthel Hop-It, the Belgian-born trailblazer largely responsible for this crossbreeding has been around since the mid-aughts — it’s possible that it benefits from the tardy arrival.

Like most examples of this growing genre, Grumpy Monk’s key traits are a strong floral and citrus hop presence, backed by peppery and clove-like spice derived from Belgian yeast. It pours a medium golden-amber color with medium to high clarity, and has a fluffy head that lingers long enough to coat the sides of the glass in frothy lacing as one sips away at it. On the palate, the medium-bodied, mildly carbonated ale’s malt component imparts hints of caramel and more fruit. It finishes dry and spicy with lingering traces of herbs, citrus and cloves.

It’s a virtuous brew that’s well worth the price of admission — as advertised, it delivers a pleasant hop taste fused with the telltale Belgian qualities. But unlike other beer-makers attempts at melding American and Belgian sensibilities, it keeps the bitterness and the spiciness in check, which has Sam Adams’ brewers deserving of applause. Find the 6.5% ABV brew with 55 IBUs in draft or 12-oz. bottle in select markets around the U.S.

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