While out on the West Coast, we only see small glimpses of Shipyard Brewing, the Portland, Maine brewery is one of the 20th largest craft breweries in the country. Shipyard’s roots lie in English styled beers but the 2009 release of XXXX IPA showed a new direction with West Coast drinkers in mind. Their newest release bring another West Coast styled beer into their portfolio. The Beer of the Week is Shipyard Brewing’s Monkey Fist IPA.
Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA is the genesis of a new generation of IPA. The traditional elements of classic English IPA have been redefined by American craft beer innovation. Like the image suggests, Monkey Fist is edgy, aggressive, and unique in style. This beer is brilliant copper in color and exploding with Warrior, Glacier, and Cascade hop character but able to maintain a beautiful balance. Monkey Fist holds up to the spiciest foods or is delicious savored just on its own. And, in case you didn’t know, a Monkey Fist is the knot tied at the end of a sailor’s rope to serve as a weight and make it easier to throw. Cheers!
Monkey Fist IPA kicks off with a huge hop aroma that jumps out of the bottle once it’s opened. Pine and citrus climb out of an incredibly resinous base. The cloudy orange color appears to be thick with hops resins and malt. The impact on the palate is not as advertised by the aroma. Smooth, slightly grassy hops start up front and ride wavse of malt (caramel, toast, a touch of sweetness) to a bitter finish that lingers on your tongue. Not an overpowering bitterness, Monkey Fist IPA is balanced and smooth. This is very much an IPA for 2012 as it satisfies my lust for hops but has a very approachable feel.
Shipyard continues to show a creative streak and an ability to brew to styles demanded by the craft brewing market. Monkey Fist IPA is perfect for the West Coast as it now presents a solid, hop driven beer that we can enjoy without the high-octane potency of XXXX IPA.