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Monumental IPA | Port City Brewing

82 Reviews
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Monumental IPAMonumental IPA

Brewed by:
Port City Brewing
Virginia, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
DC is known as the City of Monuments, and our Monumental IPA is a fitting tribute. Monumental IPA is distinctive for its complex aromas and flavors, and it strikes a perfect balance between hoppy bitterness and malty sweetness.

Added by Rhettroactive on 02-19-2011

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 372
Photo of avaldivia
3.11/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received in trade from Raveskdr. Poured 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Hazy orange, light brown color. Good head with little retention. Good lacing.

S: Mainly malt. little hop presence.

T: Better than the smell. Still maltier than I was expecting, but a good flavor.

M: Medium bodied. Low carbonation.

O: I'm starting to realize what people mean when they distinguish a west coast and an east coast IPA. This is good, but I was hoping for more hops.

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Photo of Spider889
3.02/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks Robert for this extra.

These Port City labels are classy, but also really plain/dull, which for me makes them ugly. It's like Green Flash but not as eye-catching.

Anyways, no freshness date. Pours with very little head, no retention to speak of. More brewers need to be sure to add something beyond base malt to aid in head retention...

The beer is dark for an IPA; nearly, well hell, it is amber. Very good clarity.

Smells herbal and a bit grassy. Reminds me of DFH Shelter Pale Ale in the hop profile/aromatics. Not really my favorite style of hop character, but it's nice in its own way.

This IPA is really bitter off the rip. Aww damnit, my UPS lingo is intruding into my beer reviews. Seth, you may be the only person to get what just happened here.

Train of thought review - derailed. Back on track... the beer mellows a bit after a few sips. The malt is also full of caramel sweetness and toffee chewiness.

Full body for an IPA with low carbonation.

Overall this just isn't how I like my IPAs. That said, it's done with care and I am sure it is appealing to you easterners...

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a nice clear deep rusty gold with a white bubbly head building about two fingers high. It has little retention and leaves no lacing.
The smell is mainly malt flavors, little else.
Tasting the beer, I felt the malt and caramel notes up front, being followed by some mild flowery hops, which I thought not strong enough to give the beer the needed balance in the middle. In the finish the notes start blending a little better.
A decent beer, but not my favorite.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.76/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.
6.3% ABV, no date.

Thanks to Thorpe429 for another local!

A - Cloudy to the core, this dirty apricot-colored IPA is topped by a bone-colored head with low retention but some nice lace adorning the glass.

S - Resiny bitter hops appear weak in the nose and are backed be equally weak bready amber and caramel malt. Faint for an IPA, I'm digging to pull anything from this.

T - Bready amber malt and caramel sweetness provide a good base for the low hop presence. Resiny and pine-laden with mild citrus undertones. No dimension or hop complexity.

M - Medium-bodied and "balanced" I suppose. The sweet malt is there but it's not balancing the would-be bitter IPA-like hops. Instead the mild hop presence is just balancing the malt.

O - Like Port City's Essential Pale Ale, this beer has a good malt base, hop additions to the boil as well as dry-hopping need serious tweaking though. Monumental this one is not.

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Photo of Boto
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draught @ Capital Ale House: This one pours a clear coppery color. There was about a finger of off-white head on it. It didn’t linger or leave any lacing. The aroma was good, but a little light for an IPA. Mainly pine but also some slight citrus. It is medium bodied. Mainly piney hop flavor. Not too bitter. Kind of a middle of the road IPA. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

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Photo of cptkem55
4.01/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is definitely a beer to enjoy out of a tap or growler. This is not an IPA snob's beer but rather one to be enjoyed by the everyman. The drinking experience begins with a nice flavor burst at the initial drink followed by a very, very clean aftertaste for an IPA. This is a near perfect drinkable IPA for a hot summer day when you are looking for a refreshing hoppy bite rather than a mouth drying super hop aftertaste. As with every beer, it is situational, and would be best drank when you're looking for something that goes down relatively easy and works pretty well with multiple food groupings (except maybe sweets). Overall a very decent beer.

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Photo of engagechad
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - dfh snifter

Pours a decent orange amber with not much head and low carb, smells like a non hoppy pale not an IPA. Taste follows unfortunately, kind of bland and too malty.

Not an IPA I would buy again.

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Photo of nebuck
5/5  rDev +47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer on tap at a brick-oven pizza joint in Floyd, Va, and I cannot stop raving about it.
A: Beautiful amber color
S: Surprisingly malty on the nose with a healthy dose of citrus and flowers from the hops.
T: Although this is marketed as an American IPA, I would compare it more to an amber or an English IPA. Reminds me of Sam Smith's India Ale. This beer is not a "beat your f-ing brains in with hops" IPA, and, while I love a good hoppy beer that's going to knock my pants off, this beer is much more of a drinkable, good-with-dinner, kind of balanced ale. It paired wonderfully with my pizza.
M: A rich, creamy mouthfeel--again pretty different from the sharp feel of most IPAs.
I rate this with a 5.0 because I loved it. However, I could see someone getting upset with it because it doesn't really fit the character of a normal American IPA. In fact, the company's website says the beer is "intensely hoppy," which, at 50 IBUs, is blatantly false compared with, say, something I really would consider "intensely hoppy" like Stone Ruination or Moylan Hopsickle. So, maybe it doesn't hold up as a good example of an IPA, but it's still a damn tasty brew.
Finally, this beer is a bargain. I saw it in a beer store in town recently at around $10 for a six pack, which isn't too bad.

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Photo of cichief
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep amber with a decent tan head, no haziness.

S- Subtle floral, citrusy hops.

T- Clean hoppy finish, well balanced.

M- Thin to medium bodied, well carbonated, but not effervescent.

O- A decnt IPA, suitable for a session, but not anything special.

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Photo of wmdailey
4.5/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap last weekend at the brewery

a- A really beautiful dark copper color, not a lot of persistent head.
s- Great smell coming off of this- complex citrus and resin
t- complex citrus and resin tones dominate the hop characteristics, definitely 50 IBUs with well balanced malt
m-the resiny nature of the hops keeps the beer in the mouth. oily but not in a bad way.
o- definitely worth it.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From 06/11/11 notes. I've had this one on tap at the brewery and from a growler, reviewing this one from a 12 oz. bottle. Poured into a pint glass.

a - Pours a murky dark orange color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of light citrus hops, light fruit, caramel malts, bready malts, and toasted malts.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, and a little bit bitter. Also tastes of bready and toasted malts. A little too bitter with not a lot of hops; not that great.

m - Medium body and moderate to high carbonation. A little too carbonated.

o - Overall a below average IPA, and probably the worst of the Port City offerings. Go for their Porter and Wit first.

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Photo of FreshmanPour77
3.65/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 5-20-11
Reviewed cold from a bottle to a glass

A – Poured one finger of foam, ok lacing ring with a dark copper color, carbonation is present

S – Dark roasted malts, slight hop aroma with hints of caramel

T/M – Medium bodied malty brew, smooth at first but has a bitter after taste

D – Easy drinker, not really hoppy more of a malty brew then hops. Wouldn’t seek this brew out again but glad I had tried it. It wasn’t much of an IPA for my taste

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Photo of argock
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Mellow Mushroom (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Dusky amber with stout 1/2 finger of frothy oatmeal colored head with good lacing.

S: Very fruity and reminds me more of an English IPA with more caramel sweetness as well. The hops are citrus but restrained and have a lot of floral and herbal qualities also.

T: Tastes good, but I would not put this in the American IPA category as it is too sweet and much too toasty and caramelly for the style. The maltiness is both bready and fruity and works pretty well with the citrus and floral components. The herbal flavor is honeysuckle. Take away or dampen the citrus and you have a really nice English IPA.

M: THe malt body shines through in the feel which is substantial and not overly oily and slick. The carbonation is a little much for the style and it finishes medium-dry.

O: I enjoyed Monumental IPA, but I don't think of it as an American IPA because of its fruity, malty caramel, and herbal/floral qualities. Still a nice brew.

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Photo of drabmuh
2.3/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm sorry this is the worst beer from this brewery sitar. Truly gross. Beer is brown! Hazy with a thin head nonlacing low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet and gross, buttery.

Beer is thick and not hoppy. It is goriss and buttery. Diacetyl mess. I'm truly and completely disappointed.

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Photo of SummitVA
2.83/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Amber pour with rocky head that lingers as I drink.

S - Malt above all else, with some citrus-y hop character backed with some pine, as well. Huge caramel.

T - Malt character dominates hops, although a moderate amount of citrus and pine hop flavor comes through. Bitterness in the finish is muddled by the overall sweetness of the beer. Some breadiness/biscuity quality, but sweet caramel predominates.

M - On the heavier side of light for my palate.

O - Another sweet East Coast IPA with only moderate hop flavor, something that is just not my cup of tea. Would be less hard on this beer is there were some malt complexity, but it's just a caramel bomb. I'll happily try all of the new Port City offerings, and I'm happy they are here, but I won't be seeking this brew out again.

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Photo of localone703
3.01/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Let me tell you why this IPA is disappointing. IT'S BORING. The folks at Port City certainly know how to craft professional quality beer - no flaws or off flavors - but aside from their porter, they have decided that despite all evidence to the contrary, today's craft beer scene wants innocuous flavors as if the A-B executives were right in assuming that forward-flavored beers will scare people off.

But this is craft beer, not macro lager. To start out of the gate in 2011 with an IPA that tastes fruity, with diacetyl notes, and scant hop flavor, is to have pulled the hugest rip van winkle of craft beer. Note to Port City: at some point over a decade ago, American craft beer heads really started crushing on hop-forward beers. The lust has not let up, except in this beer.

It's well made, but dull. It's the nice guy finishing last. I know that not everyone likes hoppy beers, but you already have your super mild pale ale, and your wit bier, so for jeebus sake, let down your hair already with the IPA and give us some hop flavor!!!

Call this beer your amber ale, and I will praise it. Call it an IPA - even an east coast IPA - and I will scoff, and spend my money elsewhere. Ever heard of Bob Tupper guys? Proof positive that Northern Virginia has been hop hungry for quite some time now. The folks at Port City are advised to get with the program or suffer eventual irrelevancy - and here's one last tip: don't be fooled by the local beer media - they are boot lickers that suck up to producers and bar owners for free beer and passes to events. They will only say good things to you and about you while the public votes with their dollars (where is Shenandoah Brewing Co. now?) Calling them journalists is a bit of a stretch.

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Photo of Daniellobo
2.74/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fair if a bit forgettable IPA

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple red label with a radial design presided by the brewery identity and the name of the brew, again not a bad design but a bit generic and lazy. Shows 6.3% Alc. by Vol. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Medium to deep amber pour, 1/2" inch frothy head, moderate retention, fair surface memory, and good lacing lacing.

S - Faint hoppy touch, generic bitterness, caramel sense. Pleasing but not very IPA like.

T - Generic bitterness, hop character is very subdued and unremarkable, caramel sense in the backbone sustaining the brew... There is a buttery hint that for an instant risks pushing the brew down.

M - Medium-light body and carbonation, bitterness while there does not really hit the palate and actually an almost creamy light sense permeates the mouth.

O - It can be had but it is pretty unremarkable.

Notes: It is not that bad but they are not going to dent much of a presence with this offering. Again a welcome addition to the region but for now I'd stay closer to their porter with a difference.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy copper-orange color. The tall, densely frothy head has a similar hue and good retention. A thorough splattering of fine lace sticks to the glass as the head fades.

S: Toasty, with a fair amount of caramel sweetness bordering on toffee notes. Hop aromas are a bit more various than many citrus-dominated American IPAs, though some orange/citrus notes are definitely still present. A bit of leafiness is also detectable, as well as a mild mineral note.

T: Quite bready/toasty up front. Also a good deal of caramel sweetness before the hops take the stage. Orange pulp and some grapefruit pith are noticeable, along with some lesser leafy and herbal flavors. Bitterness builds into a moderately firm crescendo before fading gradually. Again a light mineral character.

M: Fairly full-bodied. Carbonation is on the light side of medium, contributing to a denser-than-average overall feel. Hops do add a nice finishing dryness, but overall there's a bit more body than most IPAs.

D: A pleasant local IPA. This scores points for showcasing a decent blend of hop flavors, along with some toasted/sweet notes. A bit of yeast character in a style that is typically very neutral. I mentioned above that the body is a tiny bit sluggish, and other IPAs definitely demonstrate a cleaner, more focused palate, but this is still a worthy offering.

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Photo of THECPJ
2.38/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes: Share with a generous BA at Evolution Brewery during Menagerie #5 release.

appearance: copper orange with 1 finger head

smell: sweet malts, little hop characteristic

taste: sweet malts, no hop presence

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

overall: this beer did not impress me at all. I've had hoppier Pale ales then what this offered.


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Photo of goldbot
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours coppery tan in color with a slight haze. Medium amount of white to off-white head with pretty good retention. Subtle hop aroma of citrus and a bit of pine resin; floral, with bready malts and caramel. The caramel malt also jumps out in the flavor, with an even mix of citrus and resinous hops. Quite bitter on the back end, but with a lingering sweetness that approaches a good balance but doesn't quite make it. Overall, definitely an average IPA; I will keep on looking for a great local beer from the DC region.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.31/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Andrew for sending me this bottle as an extra.

A: The pour is amber in color with a small and short lived white head.

S: Smells mostly of sour and overcooked grain. Some grassy and straw sort of hop aromas can't really do much to salvage the beer. Just has a really lemony, sort of sour, aroma that is far too pervasive to really smell anything else.

T: The flavor is not any better. Bitter and slightly buttery are the best words to describe the flavor. There is some of that sourness that the nose had as well. Some grass and mild citrus hop flavors are present, but don't do much to help.

M: Medium in body with a low to medium level of carbonation.

O: This was just unpleasant. Not the flavors I look for in an IPA (or really any beer).

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Photo of yourefragile
1.88/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a murky, orange amber with a fleeting, thin off white that quickly fades to nearly nothing with no lacing.

Aroma is...not good. Smells like an out of code APA. There are some light citrus hops, but this is dominated by a tangy, stale caramel malt aroma and dry yeast.

The flavor isn't horrible but completely fails at being an IPA. Resembles a mildly hoppy amber that has a light cloying, yeasty finish. Orange and citrus hops are present, providing more dryness than bitterness. Malt dominates this, with vert little hop presence for as fresh as this beer is.

Mouthfeel is medium thick and mildly syrupy due to the extremely low carbonation.

Ugh. Very excited to try something new, fresh and local but this misses the mark for me, regardless of what style I pretend it is. Some of the other Port City beers show more promise but IMO this is one worth abandoning.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.14/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Typical Orange IPA color. Kinda looks like apricots. A bit hazy, small white head with many big bubbles.

S: Very floral scent with citrus notes, nice malt sweetness in the background.

T: Tastes awesome! Somewhat fruity and floral with a nice strong bitterness that lingers through the finish.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-full bodied.

D: Highly drinkable, considering the 6% ABV.

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Photo of kevinv
2.73/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass. No freshness dating noted on the bottle.

A - Pours a deep copper with a 1 finger off-white head. Decent head retention, little to no lacing, no visible carbonation.

S - Malt dominates the nose and overpowers whatever hop additions there are. I'm getting caramel and bready malt notes. Orange peel and a light citrusy hop presence makes itself seen as the beer warms a bit.

T - The taste is similar to the nose - bready, caramely, toasty malt. Floral and earthy hops are a little more prevalent in the taste. Moderate bitterness with a drying finish. Light notes of toffee in the aftertaste.

M - Low/medium mouthfeel with a light carbonation.

D - The drinkability is good, but this beer doesn't seem to fit well into the American IPA style. I'm glad to see another local brewery in the area. I'll still purchase this one again in the future, but now I'm more aware of what to expect.

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Photo of mpyle
3.81/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice pale amber color, a little cloudy (dry hopped?). Pours a modest white head, creamy and with good retention.

smell - citrusy west coast hops aroma, semi-sweet with a hint of caramel. A bit of grapefruit and pine. Aroma nice, but not overpowering.

taste - Brief lived caramel sweetness before hit with a rush of nice hop flavors. Turns subtly bitter midmouth and through the finish. Not an IBU bomb, but flavorwise might be stuck between a typical APA and a typical IPA. Flavors possibly a bit underdone for a stereotypical American IPA.

MF - Medium body and carbonation, no astringency, little to no alcohol warming.

Overall - a nice, clean, hoppy American beer. No rough edges, but might not be sufficiently "in your face" for an American IPA for some. This beer might be better if considered as a "big" APA.

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Monumental IPA from Port City Brewing
78 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.