Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When Monkeys Fly

True story: the whole time that I sat at my computer, tapping out this post, sipping on my pint glass, I had the tune from The Wizard of Oz in my head. You know, the one that played when the Wicked Witch of the West sent her minions out to get Dorothy and bring her and her dog back to the witch's castle?

Her minions, of course, were those winged primates.

I have to thank one of my Twitter buddies for pointing me towards this week's beer. When I was tasting the Ghosttown Stout and said that I liked it, he told me that if I liked Ghosttown I should try Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale. And so I did. And here are my tasting notes:

Flying Monkeys Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale
Imperial India Porter, 6% alc/vol
LCBO: $12.75, 6x355 ml
Pouring this ale into my pint glass, I noted a dark, reddish brown colour, paler than many porters I've had before but still quite dark. The head was light and creamy, but not thick. It's not a heavy head like you expect on a stout. But then again, this isn't a stout.

On the nose, I picked up hints of coffee and dark cocoa. Nothing powerful, but on the palate, the full flavour came through with licorice and coffee, and a finish of tobacco, possibly some grapefruit too. Some of you may think that tobacco is an undesirable flavour—especially if you don't smoke. But with the coffee and licorice, it's a delicious combination on the palate.

This is a wonderful witch's brew. Or at least a nice reward for those hard-working monkeys. Carrying a screaming girl in ruby shoes and her yappy mutt can't be easy work!

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery is based in Barrie, Ontario, and seems to be run by folks with a great sense of humour as well as a passion for distinct artisan beers. Check out their creative and fun Web site, read their descriptions about their beer, and you'll see what I mean. Assuming their site is working properly: I hit a few snags on some of the links. Eventually, I went to another site to get more information, where I learned that the brewery has been in existence since 2004 and was originally known as The Robert Simpson Brewing Co. Ltd.

Good thing they changed the name. Flying Monkeys is far more memorable. And fun. Their old name seemed so... normal.

Last week, I also had an opportunity to sample their IPA, Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale (stay tuned for another review in the coming weeks). One great thing I've found with both beers that I tried: they don't shy away from flavour. And I plan to eventually try all of the Flying Monkey offerings.

If you're a dark ale kind of person, pick up a six-pack of Netherworld. You're in for a treat that's far from normal.

But as their label states: Normal is Weird.

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