Bend Does Belgian
I was at old Saraveza for the first time in ages, checking out the bottle selections while Sarah picked up tacos down the street, when the name Monkless Belgian Ales caught my eye. I hadn’t heard of them, but the cans looked nice, and I have a well documented love of Belgian beer. So I grabbed a few, for some laughs at the very least.
First up was Capitulation, a dry hopped Tripel, which the copy claims is what you come up with when everyone comes in looking for IPAs. It does resemble a dry, pale west coast IPA – sprucey, sort of dank. But where you’d expect citrus, you get dried apricot. Where you expect a clean yeast flavor you get a bit of spice. Not exactly to style, but quite tasty.
Second was an Imperial Peppercorn Wit, which I assumed would taste like a pile of garbage. It’s rare a Witbier really appeals to me. Too much pepper, too many cloves, oily citrus flavor – imperialized it must be even worse. But it was sitting right next to the Tripel, so I threw it in the basket. I’m glad I did. Those not-monks really nailed it. As you’d expect, an Imperial Peppercorn Wit smells strongly of pepper upfront. But it’s followed by sweet citrus. And on the tongue it’s soft, with a slick of oily tangerine peel in the middle. But the finish is dry with cracked white pepper rounding everything nicely.
I was expecting a couple laughs, maybe some passable pints, but Monkless really impressed. The brewery opened three years ago in Bend, Oregon. I’m adding it to the itinerary for our next visit.