12/28/2023: Victory Brewing Company's Merry Monkey (A Late Christmas Post)

4:13 PM

Well, that was a whirlwind. How was your Christmas? Mine (if you can't tell) got away from me a little. But hey, what's Christmas around here without a late post? And, for this post, I have a little something.

A bottle of Merry Monkey beside a Christmas countdown decoration.

That little something is nothing else than Victory Brewing Company's Merry Monkey, the first beer I've ever had from this prolific brewery. Let's see if it's as Santa's little helpery as I'm hoping it is (we're in the midst of our second Christmas right now).

Twenty-seven years ago, long-time buds and classically-educated and -trained brewers Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet opened a brewery together in Downington, PA. That brewery, Victory, grew and grew. They added a secondary production facility to the fold after expanding their capacity to max in Downington. Since, they've opened several more locations and have collaborated with NY breweries to create Artisanal Brewing Ventures, an umbrella under which they can hold strong to their brewing independence.

Merry Monkey is Victory's Christmas beer. This 10% ABV Belgian-style ale's brewed with nutmeg, orange peel, cinnamon, and cranberry. Sounds plenty Christmassy to me!

The bouquet on the ale's cinnamon, raisin, clove, nutmeg, and banana (yeah, it's a Belgian-inspired beer). I can't say that I'm finding any cranberry, nor am I finding any booze--odd, given the ABV. Regardless, this is a wonderful aroma, even though it's not necessarily something I'd pin as "Christmas." 

Lest we forget Purrl, she gave my bottle three whiffs. I'll need to go back to see if it's just because Belgian ales aren't her thing. EDIT: Yeah, she doesn't like them.

Purrl sniffing my bottle of Merry Monkey.

Interestingly, the cranberry's the first thing in get from Merry Monkey's flavor profile. Layered beneath it's nutmeg, cinnamon, and orange. The banana from the nose is absent, but the raisin's still here and swinging. There's also some freshly-baked bread and toffee rounding out before the finish, which is all of the aforementioned flavors, which some honey added for good measure.

The booze in this thing's a bit of a sleeper. It's present, but the only real indication of it is a slight nag at my throat and a pleasant warming sensation after each swig.

Merry Monkey has a bit of bite to it, but it's mouthfeel's mainly just robust and smooth. It drinks just like how you'd think it'd drink.

I can't say today's beer reminds me of Christmas, but it does remind me of December stars. Being outside at night (or, if you're unlucky enough to need to shovel the drive before work, early morning), fighting the cold because, in my memories, December's always cold. You look up at the sky and get caught in the stars, gleaming and twinkling in the dark.

I'm pleased to say that Victory's Merry Monkey is the best beer I've had this season. It sits at a 9.5/10. If you're looking for the beer to cap off your December, this might just be it.

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