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Victory Golden Monkey is one of my favorite local beers. In my years I’ve drank probably more of this beer than most others. Its a full flavored, interesting, and affordable belgian style tripel. In my exploration of aging beers, this is one of the first beers I thought of, and I’ve been sitting on a number of bottles for awhile now. last night I cracked open one to see how it was doing. Per the stamp on the label, it was bottled in July of 2007, so not quite a year and a half old.
I’m sorry to say though, that it doesn’t seem to be aging well. Perhaps my basement’s conditions are not ideal (my poorly vented dryer being the main culprit), but the flavor was a bit flat. While flavorful and carbonated, it was a little cardboardy and muddy tasting. Its a shame, but I’ll have to drink up my stock sooner rather than later. Ha, bummer! I suppose I will move them to a fridge to preserve what flavor is there. I also have a batch from July of this year I’ll have to tap into.
On a different note, the Bike Coalition and Dock St Brewery are throwing a Biketoberfest party this Sunday. Anyone going? I know its a benefit and all, but I’m having a hard time with there being a $25 entrance fee AND a cash bar.
I have a small collection of beers in my cellar. Every once and awhile I’ll pull one out for a special occasion. This past Friday night we went out to our local BYOB, Las Cazuelas, with some friends, and I brought along a bottle of 2006 Allagash Musette.
Lois and I have had a rocky relationship with the restaurant. Its only 2 blocks from our house, but the last time we went, we had a less than perfect experience. So we haven’t been back there in awhile. But we decided to give it another chance. This was a much better experience, not mind blowing, but not a disaster. We had the cactus salad and the shrimp ceviche to start. Lois loves the cactus salad and it didn’t disappoint, and the ceviche was lemony and fresh. I ordered the special, a shrimp and calamari with rice dish cooked in beer. For all the server’s interest in my bottle of Musette, he didn’t say much about the beer in the dish. And I couldn’t pick out much beeriness in the dish. Oh well, it was tasty nonetheless. Since I’ve started eating seafood, after 10 years of strict vegetarianism, I must say, I’m a sucker for shrimp.
Now for the beer, the real reason for the post. The label had a bottling date of August 2006, so it was 4 months shy of 2 years old. We had similar vintage bottle of Curieux a couple months ago, and it had aged amazingly, so I was really looking forward to trying the Musette. The bottle opened (by me, I think the server was afraid to open it, ha ha) with a distinct pop, which surprised me. There was clearly plenty of carbonation still in there. This was confirmed by the healthy headed pour. As for the taste, I was not only surprised by the level of carbonation, but also by the bitterness of the hops; they were still very up-front at almost 2 years old. The sherry-like qualities of a well aged beer only peeked through a bit as it warmed up. Overall the beer tasted rather fresh, and was incredibly drinkable, particularly paired with the subtly smoky cactus salad.
My only regret is that I don’t have another one of these. I’d love to age it for another 2 years and see how it progresses. Oh well, time to stock up the cellar again.