Nimbus Old Monkeyshine
I really like Nimbus Brewery, they brew some quality micros. The Old Monkeyshine is my fourth beer from them and I like it just as much as I like all of the others. I think one of my favorite things about all of their beers, are their labels. They incorporate their signature monkey head into each of the pieces of label artwork and surround it with a landscape that makes the beer itself into a vibrant character before you even open the bottle. The Old Monkeyshine is no different, portraying a monkey with a banjo stomping/dancing on a watermelon, a magician holding a rabbit, and what looks like a wooden mannequin unscrewing the head from a dummy holding a fan, all in a hilly sunset countryside. Absurd and intriguing, and after tasting the beer, it all seems to fit.
Old Monkeyshine pours a deep rosy chocolate, or mahogany brown with a one inch beige head. Initially, I noticed it seemed hazy, but as it warmed up it seemed to become clearer. Doing some research, I discovered the term “chill haze.” A chill haze is a “cloudiness caused by precipitation of protein-tannin compound at low temperatures, does not affect flavor,” according to Beer Advocate. It is a strictly cosmetic occurrence, and I’d rather have my beer cold than warm, so it was really more of a curiosity than a concern. Moving on, the foam left faint islands of lace on the top of the liquid that held up until the very end and there was minimal spotty, clean lacing sticking to the glass.
The nose was rather simple and light, but enjoyable all the same. There was quite a bit of sweet roasted malts and caramel, a touch of fruit (I keep wanting to say strawberries), and some left-behind toffee. Though there wasn’t much to decipher, it was very pleasing and crisp.
I would say that Old Monkeyshine has a medium-light body with light carbonation that aids the Kent Golding hops in creating a mild spiciness throughout the drink. The hops really shine more in the mouth than under the nose, but they mix really well with the strong roasted malts and caramel, neither overpowering nor lingering in the depths. The best thing about this brew is that although it holds a hefty 8.2% AVB in a 12oz bottle, the only time the alcohol is noticeable is when your head becomes airy and delicately fuzzy halfway through the bottle. There is no trace of alcohol in the aroma, and the roasted malts do a fantastic job of keeping the taste out.
This beer was very easy to drink and left me feeling nice and warm afterward without anything other than a sweetly bitter kiss of an aftertaste. Styled as an English Strong Ale, I would probably pair this with a nice steak or pork and maybe even salmon if it was cooked with enough ginger. I would place this in the early fall, mostly because it worked for me today and would certainly keep me warm into the early winter, despite the painful lack of snow I’m sure Phoenix – and I – will be missing. Hopefully Ty will build a snowman for me in Colorado.