I guess I kind of lucked out in having to work on Columbus/Native American Day, since I was downtown for another highly anticipated Trillium release. Apparently I jinxed myself in the Sigtebrod review, though, as there was indeed a line for this beer when I showed up at the brewery.
Beer Name: Never & Again
Brewers: Trillium Brewing Company and Monkish Brewing Company
Description: Another Trillium collaboration brew, this time made in cahoots with California’s Monkish Brewing Company. For a quick run-down, the beer was a double IPA aged on mangos and hopped with Columbus, Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo. Check out this link for the full story and specs. The four-pack of cans cost $22.20 and came with a limit of two per customer. That was on the higher end of what I am usually looking to spend, but I was curious to try this.
Appearance: One of the most interesting bodies I have come across yet, it looked like a super cloudy and murky glass of orange juice. A thin yellow-tinted head formed as the beer poured but quickly dissipated.
Smell: Sweet tropical fruits with a little bit of heat on the end.
Taste: Started out tasting like orange and mango juice, but then a huge rush of bitter hops quickly took over the beer, giving it a sharp, spicy finish. After letting it sit in the glass for 5-10 minutes, the beer happily mellowed out a little bit. The juiciness became more pronounced and bitterness subdued somewhat, though it retained a spicy bite at the very end. Honestly this beer tasted rather green to me and right out of the can it reminded me of my first time dry-hopping a homebrew with way too much Simcoe and tasting the hop-infused near-trub.
Mouthfeel: It had a thick juicy body that was nonetheless decently carbonated throughout the drinking experience. I could also swear I felt the rawness of the hops numbing my throat after the first few sips, a sensation that went away as the beer warmed up.
Hype Factor: High, perhaps even sky-high. This was a beer people had been anticipating for months and it drew a bit of a crowd. As for myself, I’d been eager to try out Monkish for some time now and since I don’t really have the time or resources to get into trading this was my best chance to do so in the foreseeable future. I will admit these initial expectations were tempered somewhat as I gave in to curiosity and read the initial highly polarized Untappd reviews, but knowing what a fickle lot us beer enthusiasts can be I took those with a grain of salt and kept an open mind.
Overall: Despite reading some of the initial reviews, I was not prepared for the intensity of the hops which hit like a roundhouse kick to the beard. That said, I get the feeling underneath all that there is a good beer here, it’s just way overshadowed by that raw, off-balance finish. Not sure if this extreme bitterness is a hallmark of Monkish or not, but I kind of wonder if maybe this got either over hopped (blasphemy!) somewhere along the line or released a bit too early. Or maybe I just have sensitive taste buds. I’m going to optimistically go with the reasoned consensus of reviewers and hope that more time in the can will do this beer some good. I know how people feel about aging hop-forwards brews, but this one might be an exception. Perhaps I’ll do an updated review in a month or so.