Bitter Monk | Anchorage Brewing Company

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265 Reviews
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Bitter MonkBitter Monk
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Anchorage Brewing Company
Alaska, United States | website

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian style double IPA with Brettanomyces. this ale is aged in french oak chardonnay barrels. Brewed with Apollo, Citra, and Simcoe hops. Dry hopped in the barrel with Citra hops. Triple fermented- First in the tank with a Belgian yeast, second in french oak chardonnay barrels with brett, and finally in the bottle with a third yeast for natural carbonation.

100 IBU

Added by sprucetip on 08-26-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
265
Ratings:
1,004
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
18.66%
 
 
Wants:
414
Gots:
128
For Trade:
9
User Reviews
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Reviews: 265 | Ratings: 1,004
Photo of Gmann
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden straw color with a big white head that left webby lacing all along the glass.

The aroma is unique and has 3 distinct aromas. The first is the belgian yeast which provides some clove and light phenols. Next comes a huge hit of brett along with the chardonnay oak barrel. Dry white grapes with some farmhouse funk. To cap things off is a a tropical fruit hop aroma. The brett dominates the aroma.

The taste is of a sweet pale malt with some light belgian yeast flavors. The brett comes in and funkifies everything. The brett goes well with the dry chardonnay oak flavor. The combination brings a nice tart flavor. The hops kick in toward the end. Some tropical fruit hops to go along with some pine. Definitely some resiny hoppy bitterness in the end. The brett not as strong in the flavor and the hops take on more of a presence.

There is a moderate feel with active carbonation. Good balance between sweet, tart and bitter.

A nice complex BIPA. The brett takes the show in this beer but the hops help to provide an offset. I would like to see a touch more clovey/phenols from the yeast.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Bottle purchased months ago...don't really remember when. Poured into HF tulip. Lots of head...carbonation is ideal. Orangey hue..sure.
Nice hoppy aroma even for it being fairly aged...but brett dominates. Smooth juicy hops and brett - mixed with classic anchorage signature aromas...
wood and funk.
Great flavor - funky - brett - wood - hops. Phenomenal. Do yourself a favor and thank god (or any deity) Gabe exists...this beer as most of his are..is simply sublime.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, May 2013. From the description on the bottle, it appears that this beer no longer uses Simcoe hops- just Citra and Apollo.

Cloiudy golden with a large white head. Head fades steadily, but not totally, leaving a decent white head that does not go away. A bit of lace.

Amazing smell. Lots of tart-cherry Brett scents, along with lots of bright fruits and citrus. Pineapple, orange, green grape and more. Also a nice oak scent. Divine!

Taste is not as incredible as the nose (how could it be?), but is very nice. The Brett is strong, providing cherry and a lot of dry funk. The oak is also strong, particularly on the finish. The hops provide a nice range of fruit flavours, with the Citra standing out: pineapple, grapefruit and tangerine. There is a noticeable wine flavour from the Chardonnay barrels. The Belgian yeast is there, but is not dominant for me- the Brett overtakes it. Finish is quite bitter and dry.

Full bodied, moderate carbobation. Astringent, seriously dries the mouth.

Overall, terrific. The mixture of Brett and Citra is lovely. I find the Belgian aspect of the beer to not be a focus- comes across more like a Bretty American IPA, because the Citra is so much stronger than the Belgian yeast. Whatever you call it, it is delicious, and one of the best smelling beers I have ever encountered.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a medium-sized Duvel tulip.

A: Clear gold body under an inch of creamy white head. Good retention, plenty of lace. Very nice.

S: Hops + brett. Citrus, dry hay, and more generic herbal indulgence. Powerful without a doubt, but somehow less than great.

T: Follows the nose: grapefruit, spruce, orange, hay, and bitterness. Very dry, very bitter, and very tasty.

M: Lively, frothy medium body. Creamy and nice.

O: This was enjoyable, but nowhere near $20 enjoyable. Surprisingly enough, it was my least favorite Anchorage beer I've tried (behind Whiteout Wit and Love Buzz). I won't be buying any more of their beers at such a price point, but would certainly recommend them as being worth trying once.

Cheers!

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Photo of n2185
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold with two fingers of white head that fades into a nice cap with decent lacing.

S: Sour candy--like lemon drops--hit first with pineapple and orange citrus notes following. Belgian spices, sweet hay, Chardonnay, and a bit of barnyard mustiness come through as well. Smells amazing.

T: There's a lot going on here--tart and sour fruit, musty and funky barnyard flavors, resinous pine hop notes, Belgian spices, grapefruit and citrus rind, Chardonnay, and a moderately bitter and lightly boozy finish.

M: Body is on the lighter side of moderate with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery and has a slick feel--quite drinkable.

O: A damn good beer, overall. So much going on in this beer and it all works well together. I might like a little more carbonation and a little less bitterness, but those are nitpicks.

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Photo of rawfish
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a teku glass, orange-yellow very hazy with a stark white head. I didn't let it foam up too much but it has good retention and leaves a thick chunky lacing.

Thin dry straw and crack-like grains, complex with white grapes, oak, bright citrus and mango hops. Brett brings in a mild mustiness and Belgian yeast spice notes of clove and coriander. Flashes of tartness with strong dry hopping, sounds familiar.

Base beer has a thin unobtrusive cracker-like malt adding subtle graininess, evident hop flavors of bright citrus peel, straw are complemented by the chardonnay barrels bringing out bright fruit notes. French oak and the highly bittering apollo hops add a pinching bitterness that gives the impression of drying with Belgian yeast flavors of coriander and powder. Brett adds a layer of complex mustiness and the finish is also tart from the wine barrels.

Medium bodied, the yeast is nicely balanced with active carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden, or just ignored given the complexity of this beer.

One heck of a ride, this is a Wild Ale more so than a Belgian IPA and I'm pleasantly surprised that the complexity comes more from the wine barrel aging and hops rather than the Brett. Bitterness is pretty sharp and tartness is balanced, the French oak also rounds out the Citra flavors nicely this is really a stellar beer.

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Photo of jsh420
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

batch 1
july 2011

pours cloudy golden yellow with a big chunky pillowy white head that had great retention and left lacing

smell is funky hoppy evergreen citrus tropical fruit - amazing!

taste - wow - an orval ipa - it works so well - the funk of the brett stands out and cuts through all other flavors bitter fruity hops and sweet malt

mouthfeel - medium body decent carbonation - smooth and creamy - could have used more bite

overall - one if not the best belgian ipa i have had - i can only knock it .5 for price @ 15 a bottle and mouthfeel - but i would gladly buy another bottle when the newest batch comes out this year

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Photo of MDDMD
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-hazy golden color with a nice white head and good lacing

S-lemon, funky Brett, apples, vinous, wheat bread

T-lemon, apricot, grapes, wine, oak,grassy,yeasty, funky Brett,slightly tart, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, crisp and dry

O-unique and delicious beer, great for enjoyable sipping, would definitely seek this out

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy apricot color with a huge fluffy white head. Leaves loads of lacing down the glass. Looks pretty awesome.

S: Huge citrus hop aroma. Vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, nilla wafers, just a touch of Brett and some oak. Really complex and absolutely incredible.

T: A nice hit of Citra right away with some mango, white grape, and pink grapefruit. Some honey and caramel malts in the middle before a finish of peppery and earthy hops. Some oak and Chardonnay dry the finish a touch as well.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1731st Review on BA
Bottle to Pinot Noir Glass
750 Ml C/C

Batch 2
Purchased at El Cerrito Liquor

App- A glowing orange with a bit of a yellow and creme tinge behind it. A nice and puffy head. Cracky and puffy white head that faded very slowly. Great cling and lace behind it.

Smell- The Brett takes over and creates a nice funk blended with the hops and the yeast behind this one. Dry, hoppy, citrus and yeast. A great combination especially with the barrel aged wine behind it.

Taste- I liked this beer. I didnt get blown away by it, but I really enjoyed it. I think the price affected me. The beer itself was a very nice mixture of what I would say was a attempt at a very layered beer. Spot on Anchorage. Huge notes of the barrel come in, with the duality of the citrus and the dry tannic of the barrels they used. The DIPA flavor was a bit of a background noise with the Brett stealing the show.

Mouth- A solid medium body with a certain dry grassy feel to it. A bit of a cracker flavor remains with some funk, yeast and citrus zest to balance this all out really.

Drink- I paired this with artichokes, italian chicken and ravioli. Holy cow was that a good idea. Nice job anchorage. I was hesitant when this 1st came out. Glad the ticker in me had to tick this one.

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Photo of tbryan5
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow... Another superb beer from Anchorage. A hoppy and Bretty beer that you can keep on drinking and drinking. It's not overly tart where the funk overpowers the hops, but a good combination that allows the best of both worlds be showcased.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, opaque orange/yellow. Bright white head, nice sporadic lace. BIG funk! It's almost tart, but tows the line beautifully. Some citrus, but the hops can't overpower the funk. The taste is where it's at though. Big funk still, BUT, it's wonderfully bitter, with plenty of citrus, bordering on tart...towing the line yet again. Getting some subtle oak and dry wine notes. Crisp, almost effervescent carbonation. Crisper than it technically should be, but it works. Their Love Buzz Saison wasn't this crisp, but I wish it were!

Damn. I've been infected with Brett...and I like it. I still hate sours, but Brett beers are quickly becoming a thing of beauty to me. This Bretted IPA is blissful.

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Photo of ADZA
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Love the label and spiel and pours a hazy yellow hue which leaves a two finger creamy head and lots of lacing,the smell is white wine,pineapple,funk,old cellar and fragrant herbal hops,the mouthfeel is just medium bodied and very easy to knock back with tastes of cranberries,pineapple,paw paw,grapefruit,a touch of marzipan and finished with sav blanc grape dry semi bitterness and overall i really like this brew and would definately buy or drink again cheers.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle a hazy nectarine-yellow with two fingers of rich and rocky off-white head. Tons of lacing left behind.

Aroma of Juicyfruit gum, Belgian yeast, white wine, lemon and fresh earth.

Much like the aroma, tastes of Juicyfruit gum, tart lemon, white wine, Belgian yeast and a hint of spiciness. Finishes with a light medicinal tang. The 9% alcohol is well hidden in this one.

Lighter bodied and dry with a sharp carbonation.

I loved this beer. A lot of character and personality in every sip. Anchorage Brewing is doing a lot of things right.

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Photo of Florida9
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear golden yellow. Forms about an inch or so of bright white head that slowly reduces to a thick and bubbly surface coating. Some very nice lacing.

S: Aromatic and complex. Smells rather vinous, grapey, and reminiscent of white wine. Not necessary Chardonnay, but certainly the white wine is apparent. Green apple, a slight bit of citrus, and a little herbal hops.

T & M: Wow...Incredibly complex with waves of delicate flavor. Again, there is a vinous quality to it, almost Saison-like. Mildly sweet. White wine, herbal, "green," basil, then turns slightly bitter and begins to dry. A little oak. Finishes acidic and crisp with notes of green apple, pear, and some more mild citrus. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is appropriate.

O: A very good beer with incredible complexity and depth. Hops aren't entirely gone, but could only imagine what some fresh hop character would add to this beer. Hopefully, we will all see this one again one day.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750mL into an oversized tulip.

Peach skin-colored body. Foamy, frothy, full and persistent pale white head. Lace is everywhere like in a brothel. Very nice to look at. 5

Smells of spicy, peppery yeast and white wine along with some peach and other juicy fruit all cloaked in a light funk. 4.25

A continued white wine experience with piney and floral hop flavor tinged by fruitiness. Grapefruit and mandarin follow and shine more as the beer warms. The finish lingers with a strong floral profile and a touch of oatmeal-like malt appears just before to inject some sweetness. A nice stew of flavors. 4.25

This beer was living up to the bitter in its name when it was nice and cold out the fridgerator. Yup, the fridgerator. Coupled with the zesty, yeasty spice, the beer was drinking pretty aggressively and forcing me to take the smallest of sips. But as it warms, it becomes creamier, juicier and smoother. A little sweetness/maltiness begins to show too. 4

Closer to room temp, this is pretty damn phenomenal. Drink it cold to see the transition, but I promise you'll love this after about 30-45 minutes.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, MAY/2015 (no simcoe hops for this batch, only citra and apollo; still dry-hopped with citra)

A: Pours a translucent golden orange color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a nice frothy cap that leaves decent lacing

S: Belgian yeast up front, with some fruity and spicy notes. Citra definitely imparts some nice citrus and fruity notes. Some vinous and oaky notes from the chardonnay barrels in there as well. Brett manages to provide some light barnyard, but it is in the back behind the base yeast. Still very nice and complex overall

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the Belgian yeast, which gives off the usual fruity and spicy notes. Goes into the Brett, which provides some nice barnyard and funk, the chardonnay barrel, which provides some vinous and oaky notes, and finally the hoppiness, which provides some moderate bitterness and more citrus and fruity notes. Finishes with lingering yeasty notes and bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nicely rounded and smoothed out from the barrels

O: Definitely world-class and one of the few Belgian IPAs that I've actually enjoyed where the yeast works with the hops. I think the chardonnay barrels help with that quite a bit and provide a nice spin. A hefty price tag, but well worth it

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Photo of Beaver13
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Pours a hazy dark yellow with a big fluffy wihite head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a lot of brett and musty yeast with old fruits and bread. Some dirty sock comes out as it warms.

The flavor is a lot of brett with some old fruit and bready malt. There's a decent amount of bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, I like it. The best Beligan IPA I've had. i like the use of Brett instead of traditional Belgian yeast. It also has good noticeable bitterness. Only downside is price at $17 a bottle.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle at home and split with Alex. Poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours a mirky yellow/orange color, frothy white head, sticky lace, thin cap.

S - Bretty, hoppy citrus, tropical fruites. Lots of brett, lots of bitterness, and a nice balance of fruit (I'm guessing the hops & brett combo did this?..I like it).

T - Citrus, hoppy bitterness, loads of tropical fruit, nice level of funk, some oak. Very complex...also get some of the chard barrels too, which plays into the tropical fruits and brett. The alcohol is hidden well with everything else going on.

M - Medium, perhaps a touch too much carbonation, oily funk finish.

O - A solid brew, a unique take on a Belgian IPA, and it really seemed to work for me. The tropical fruity bitter funk is something I like and would have more often. At 9%, I couldn't plow through this as much as I'd like to. Very unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of cherche
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: hazy, muted orange with an off white head. Good retention and lacing.
S: Brett, fruity hops (tangerine, pineapple, kiwi), just a hint of wheat
T: tangy fruit, similar to smell, bright brett fruits
M: slightly thicker than your average IPA but to be expected w a brett, Belgian style. Average carbonation.
O: love this beer. Great balance between the tart brett character, the fruity hops and just a hint of wheatiness. Will be getting this beer whenever I can find it.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Hazy orange and dark yellow, nearly auburn, with a thickly forming, persistent near-white head with decent retention that left sticky rings of lace down the glass.

A hugely aromatic and interesting aroma, without any one element becoming too dominant or distracting. There's plenty of big, hoppy, citrus elements here, like grapefruit and lemon, along with big blasts of funky (Brett) yeast, earth and grass, and a bit of alcohol sting, especially as the beer warms to room temperature.

A boldly flavorful and complex beer, and again, all the discernible elements stand out on their own: big, yet balanced flavors of citrus, very funky yeast, earthy elements, along with a ton of overall bitterness. There's also a bit of white-grape flavor as well after the bitterness washes away. Incredible!

Medium bodied with high carbonation.

A fantastic Belgian IPA. This one is unlike any I've ever tried before; it's both far more complex and far more bitter than any other example I've tried within the style. Superb!

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Photo of brotherloco
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml C&C bottle. Batch #1 - July 2011. Served in a tulip.

Pours a cloudy gold with a giant pillowy 3+ finger white head. Good bit of lacing.

Aroma is a blend of citrus, white wine, and brett notes. A real floral and grassy character in the background.

Flavor tilts towards a light sourness that dominates the citrusy hops. Fruity middle that is medium dry. A very pleasant bitterness comes on in the finish and dissipates quickly, leaving a sharp tart aftertaste. Maybe a sting of booze in the finish but overall the alcohol is buried.

Medium bodied with soft natural medium carbonation. Amazing mouthfeel and incredibly drinkable.

Certainly the most unique DIPA I've tasted. Flavor is much more rounded out than a typical hop bomb. The hops are certainly present, but collaborate with all the flavor brought on by the brett and multiple fermentations.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a very interesting twist on a double IPA. It looks like a belgian, but you get a lot of the hoppiness in the smell.

You also smell some sour from the belgian presence in this beer. The chardonnay presence in the smell was a little weird.

The taste is very good. You get the hoppy presence from some very different hop types. It was a little different than what you would expect from the double IPA. This is tempered by the belgian flavor. The chardonnay does a good job.

So, why not a higher taste score? This beer runs into a wall as it warms. In the same way that a warm chardonnay is undrinkable, this beer needs to stay chilled. When warm, you get a ton of wine flavor and bitterness.

This was a very good beer. Share it with a friend to avoid getting it to warm.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is full of citrus and tropical fruit hops with some grapefruit, orange, and pineapple, with some Belgian yeast, Brett, funk, lemon, and some oak.

T - Starts off with lots of citrus and tropical hops with some strong grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavor and some bitterness alongside some Belgian yeast esters coming through. Though the middle, some light pine comes through with stronger bitterness, oak, and some Brett funkiness. The finish is a mix of citrus and tropical hops, bitterness, oak, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some funk.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate-plus carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry, bitter, and funky finish.

D - Very drinkable. The combination of DIPA level of hops, Belgian yeast, Brett, and some oak aged barrel aging comes together to create a complex and very well balanced beer.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Metalmonk, meet Bitter Monk. Okay, Metalmonk has already met Bitter Monk twice before, and he found much to like in this very complex and unique beer. So, third and final meeting (at $15.99 a bottle, it's gotta be the final meeting -- for awhile anyway)...

A very healthy pop of the cork and you can smell this thing from a couple feet away. But first, appearance: so pale and hazy as to resemble a witbier, or a double wit, perhaps. Washed-out golden peach/pear-juice. Head is a blinding-white fluff monster while it lasts, which is longer than expected. Patchy lace of various shapes and sizes splatters the glass.

Ooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell? It's huge. It's American, French and Belgian all at once, and it's terrific. American thanks to the uber-citrus hop tones (relative newcomers Apollo, Citra and Simcoe, for the record); French due to the heavy oak/Chardonnay presence; and Belgian thanks to the wonderfully funked-up yeast and clean, saison-like graininess. All combines to equal an exotic, electric, vibrant aroma like no other.

There's a heavy grapefruit element at the forefront of the taste, which pulls along with it the tell-tale fruity-and-funky treasures of Brettanomyces yeast (you know you're a lost cause when you can type Brettanomyces without looking at anything for help). Big blasts of tart lemonade, Chardonnay (and white wine-soaked wood), crisp green apple, lime, and something very, very earthy, in a twisted sort of way (again, the Brett speaking). Hops are big, and bitter, but just as well-incorporated alongside everything else, keeping Bitter Monk from feeling/seeming/drinking like a novelty. Reading the label, and thinking "Belgian IPA," I assumed some pineapple flavor would come into this before I had my first bottle several days ago. I don't quite get that, because it lacks that kind of sweetness...but having said that, it lacks nothing. It's fantastic.

Dry as a bone, partly thanks to the oak barrel use, I presume, and that perfectly matches the crisp medium body, the fruity/funky finish and the main tastes on the tongue.

Maybe it's splitting hairs, or focusing on things that don't truly matter, but the label's claim that this is a "Belgian-style Double IPA" is a little misleading. "Massive malt infusion" reads the back label. Really? Of course there's a lot of malt, but it still plays a mere supporting role. There just isn't enough of that sweet malty variable that partly defines a double IPA. But that's about all that wrong with this thing. And really, confining it to any style is futile -- this is one of the most unique, original and exciting beers to emerge from the U.S. craft scene in a while. I enjoyed the heck out of each bottle, and have to admit it was totally worth the $15.99 price tag.

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Bitter Monk from Anchorage Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 265 ratings.
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