I was barely a year old when Raiders of the Lost Ark was originally released in theaters. Which means that back in pre-Netflix America, it took (GASP!) YEARS for it to reach my sleepy hometown of Punxsutawney, PA. By that time, I was a waist-high Lincoln Log wielding tike, whole-heartedly obsessed with all things George Lucas. I remember pulling down all of the couch cushions and piling them strategically on the absurdly 70’s pea green shag carpet, forming an impenetrable fortress from which I could watch Indy and Gimli, I mean Sallah, search the desert for a big gold box that melts faces. Honestly, I had no clue what the plot of the movie was, only that there were snakes (why does it always have to be snakes!), a dude with a big sword, face-melting, and one, huge, lumbering boulder. We all know how the boulder was unleashed – Indy stole the monkey head – the Golden Monkey head.
Unlike Indiana Jones, if you want to get your hands on a Golden Monkey (complete with a frothy, 1-finger, white head) you needn’t fly to a far off South American jungle. Just pop on down to your local bottle shop. Courtesy of Pennsylvania’s own Victory Brewing, Golden Monkey Tripel Ale is a soul-warming American take on the Belgian Tripel.
Tripels were originally named so because its grain bill called for three times the malt of a standard Belgian Pale Ale. They traditionally are straw yellow in color, with lots of carbonation and frothy head. The flavor can be rather complex for such a light ale, but can exhibit spicy and herbal notes, some fruity undertones such as citrus, alcohol warmth and sweetness from the abundance of malt. It is rather heavily hopped to balance it out, but can produce some boozy warmth from the alcohol, and can remind one of a bourbon or whiskey as it warms and flattens. The style has a plethora of examples, the most famous being Tripel Karmeliet, which I highly recommend. If you listened to Beercast II, we touched on Trappist Breweries. Both Westmalle and Koningshoeven are Trappist Breweries offering varieties of Belgian Tripel, along with many secular Belgian breweries and countless American craft examples.
If you happen to be at WDW, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find this lovely golden elixir. According to Beers and Ears and my own recent field research, it’s available at most table service locations and bars/lounges, as it is on the property-wide standard craft beer list. At 9.5% alcohol by volume, this one’s a sipper. I recommend picking one up at Block & Hans at the American Adventure and enjoying it during a leisurely stroll around Epcot’s World Showcase. That is, unless a boulder is on your tail.
David Juart’s Rating for Victory Brewing Golden Monkey Tripel Ale
Aroma 8/10 Appearance 4/5 Taste 8/10 Mouthfeel 4/5 Overall 17/20
From bottle. Pours Golden and clear with 1 finger head, dissipating to a rimming film. Herbal notes and some citrus in the nose, a graininess present there also. Alcohol warming and bready, notes of lemon, thyme and sage, moderately bitter with a strong malt presence in the middle and end, with plenty of alcohol warming in the after accompanied by a mild bitter and boozy tingle. A very solid Tripel.
Check out a list of over 1000 beer ratings from David Juart over at ratebeer.com.