Tasting: June 4 -5, 2012
Style: IPA, Belgian Ale (Tripel)
Yakima Glory, Golden Monkey & Hop Wallop
There are a number of niches when it comes to craft beer enthusiasts and I have my own labels for these fellow beer geeks.
Hop Heads: like strong fresh and bitter hops.
Yeastie Boys (and girls): like the flavors imparted by special strains of proprietary or wild yeast used in Belgian-style ales.
Men in Black: Worship the roasted and complex nature of a dark beer.
Deutschland Uber Alles: those that like wheat beers, Rauch bier, Alts and the bock varieties.
While I enjoy most beer styles, I think my blog entries speak for themselves. I’m a card carrying Hop-Head and a long standing member of the Men in Black. So, if my commentary causes you to purchase a beer, proceed with caution as any recommendation may be too bitter, too boozy or too burnt.
Another quick beer tour — this time courtesy of (Downingtown), Pennsylvania brewer — Victory.
First tour stop is Yakima Glory.
While Washington might be widely known for its apples – did you know that Yakima, Washington produces three-quarters of all hops grown in the United States? This beer boasts an ABV of 8.7%. Right out of the gate, I’m surprised. This one pours as brown as the bottle it came in. The label calls it an ale, but I’d call it a black IPA. The label also mentions that this beer is a tribute to the hop harvest of Yakima. The nose is fairly sweet and no real sign of hoppiness. The first sip is a mild caramel and roasted grains over some really earthy and peppery hops. Nice balance. The hops remind me a lot of Great Lakes Nosferatu. Wow, that earthy hop flavor lingers on. Mouthfeel is a bit fizzy and medium-bodied. I’ll put this one at 88 points.
Next stop is Golden Monkey.
Months ago, I was at Stew Leonards and a beer distributor asked me what I thought of Victory Brewing. My reply was that I didn’t really know much about Victory. I asked him about the most popular or best Victory beer. He responded Golden Monkey. According to the label, this one channels eastern mysticism via spices and combines them with a traditional Belgian-style triple (triple). This one is 9.5% ABV. As mentioned in other posts the terms double and triple refer to the strength of the brew and 9.5% seems about right. Pours a golden color. Not much aroma, maybe some clove from the yeast. A bit fizzy on the front, mellow in flavor but it does have some typical fake Belgian things going on like bread, banana, clove. Crazy there is some bitterness here — I’m guessing from some hops or spice. Tastes peppery. This one isn’t bad — 83 points.
Last stop is Hop Wallop.
Okay, so having some “hop-head” tendencies how could you pass up on a beer called Hop Wallop? It’s like daring me to drink it. I’ve been hesitant on this one. I asked fellow pop, John (100% pure unadulterated hop-head) about this one. His words, “it sucks”. Well, I have to take John’s opinion with a grain of salt — if it doesn’t melt his taste buds — he doesn’t like it. Checks in at 8.5% ABV, perfect for an imperial (or double) IPA. I’m finding it somewhat underwhelming at first. I get very little flavor up front and it builds to some earthy, black pepper, citrus, and some light sweet malt. It disappears meekly. It isn’t until after I’ve cleaned the dishes and sit at the computer that I can taste the muscular hops here. This one shows some nice flashes but has many flaws. Not much balance here meaning no transition of flavors from the beginning, middle to finish. I’ll put this as an okay 85.