9/2/17 Petoskey Brewing's Horny Monk

4:47 PM

Oops. I totally meant to get this out last month. I really wanted to just feature fall beers in September and beyond but I guess you autumnal naysayers lucked out. As it turns out, I'll be writing two posts this weekend (this one is included in that count) and neither feature fall brews.


I guess that means summer's going to go out with a bang here at John Likes Beer. Let's get this passing of the seasons started with today's beer: Petoskey's Horny Monk.

This beer was a souvenir my soon to beer father-in-law brought back from a vacation he and my soon to be mother-in-law took to Lake Superior. While in Michigan, he tried some Horny Monk on tap at a bar and knew he'd have to find some to bring back for me. This is the last can from a pack of four. I've had the other three and was saving this one for a review.

Horny Monk is brewed in a building known as the Old Brewery. The building was built in 1898 and functioned as a brewery for the next 17 years. In 1915 it ceased brewing but found new life as a place for housing wares and shopping. In the '70s it weathered some roof restoration. Then, in 2012, its usage came full circle: Patrick Dowd and Lou Gostinger decided to use it to house Petoskey Brewing.

Horny Monk (click that link then scroll down to see the write-up about the ale) is a Belgian ale brewed with six different kinds of malts. It features candied Belgian syrup and Belgian yeast. It's described as malty, complex, and slightly sweet. And it rings in at just 6.9% ABV.

The first time I had this beer, I was completely thrown off by it's bouquet. I hadn't looked at the ABV so, upon taking a whiff and being met with a boozy nose, I assumed I was about to get into some trouble. Now I know that the ABV is less that 7% and I'm still thrown off by the aroma wafting from my can. That aroma is complimented by a crisp, dry quality which can be attributed to the yeast employed by the ale. While I really like the bouquet, poor Purrl does not. She gave three whiffs--no more, no less.


The beer does have a malty sweetness to its flavor. It's really robust--a lot of layering is going on here. But all those layers add to the overall sweetness. There's a hint of bitterness in the finish and some of the quasi-booziness from the aroma carries into Horny Monk's taste, but both of those are welcome because they serve to counterbalance the sweetness nearly perfectly. Good on you, Petoskey Brewing. This is an expertly crafted ale.

Horny Monk has a big mouthfeel. Really, its full. It's syrupy. It's everything a good Belgian style ale should be.

During our final fall at Ohio University, Michelle and I took hayride around The Ridges. For those who don't know, The Ridges are the old supposedly but definitely not haunted asylum across the Hocking River from OU's campus. The hayride was on one of those weird October days where it's 78 degrees.

We hopped into a wagon with a bunch of other people and went for a spin around the asylum's campus while a historian told us about the history of the place and what it meant to Athens County. It was really fun, but I can't help but think that I would have appreciated it more on a truly fall day, chill in the air and all. That's similar to what I think about Horny Monk: It's a good beer, but, man, it would really be enhanced by a perfectly crisp fall day.

Regardless of the fact that I'm writing this post in the summer (I do get some leeway here because it's cloudy and in the fifties outside of my window) I'm still giving this beer the rating it deserves: an 9/10. Consider me jealous if you live somewhere where you can regularly find this. (If you're one of those lucky people, please ship some down to me.)

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