December 20, 2009

A winter wonderland and Merry Monks Ale

Yesterday was quite a blizzard here in Philly. I don't think I've actually heard anyone call it that yet, but according to the definition of a blizzard, it seemed to be one. We got more snow in one day than we got all of last winter. It was a blast! Started off with some really great Weyerbacher beers at my place, then went out and met up with friends. The bars were nicely packed and everyone was making merry. Nothing like a weather disaster to bring people together.

Speaking of making merry, one of the beers I enjoyed before heading out was the Weyerbacher Merry Monks Ale. I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It's a Belgian Style Tripel. Not at all hoppy (which is why I was surprised), it's actually very fruity (banana, apple) in both the aroma and taste. There was also bit of peppery spice and some nutty flavor from the yeast. This is not a beer to be taken lightly - it comes in at a fairly hefty 9.3% ABV. I thought it was well deserved after some shoveling, and I wasn't disappointed. It tasted even better as it warmed slightly and the more complex flavors (from the combination of pilsner malts and Belgian yeasts) really came through.

Merry Monks is a bottle conditioned ale, meaning that some sugar and yeast are added just prior to bottling. Bottle conditioning helps extend the shelf life of the beer, but also ultimately changes its character as it ages because of the on-going fermentation. The good people at Weyerbacher recommend saving a few bottles to see the differences for yourself, and I wish I had. Luckily it's available year-round so I can pick some up and save it for the next snowy day. You should, too.

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