Left Hand Brewing’s 400 Pound Monkey
Left Hand Brewing 400 Pound Monkey
An ominous red handprint blazoned on the neck of the bottle: does it indicate pain or does it indicate pleasure? Judging by their beers it would have to be the latter. Left Hand Brewing had me at the proverbial “hello”, which, in this case, happened to be my first sip of their Milk Stout. Like many of the beers reviewed on this site, 400 Pound Monkey is another product of the Colorado beer scene, as Left Hand calls Longmont, Colorado home, but it can be found all over the U.S.
Now, after having tasted all sorts of new and inventive local beers during Lexington’s Craft Beer Week activities these past seven days, I have had my fill of sampling never-ending 4oz. flights of everything imaginable. Many of the beers I tasted over the last week got one of three euphemistically paraphrased responses: 1) “That’s interesting” (read: why would anyone want to sip this beer again); 2) “Meh” (read: not bad but doesn’t blow my bike shorts off); 3) “Dear unnamed deity, thank you for sending your only progeny in a liquid form to be sampled by fun-loving beer nuts” (read: holy shit this is good beer). Sunday night I needed a stalwart, a go to, a trustworthy friend. I needed something that I knew I would not have to choke down, that wasn’t too sweet, and wouldn’t get me bombed after half a beer. I craved something tasty, but not infused with raspberry and mint and jalapeno and rhubarb while being dry-hopped and pre-digested. Enter the 400 Pound Monkey.
Left Hand’s 400 Pound Monkey is an English Style IPA that is balanced and repeatably drinkable. Left Hand’s site doesn’t tell the IBUs for this beer (instead they say “a good monkey never tells”…cheeky bastards); however I would venture to say at least 40, enough to please any hop lover. At the same time, the balance in created by the malted breadiness, think of a sweet brown bread that has yet to be baked (maybe like the kind they used to serve at Ruby Tuesdays) mulled with those delicious hops, leaving a happy tongue and a happy imbiber. These are easy to drink, and if you are not careful the monkey won’t be the only thing that is 400 pounds because these are no Mich Ultras.
As with all of the Left Hand beers that we are lucky enough to get in Kentucky, beware the red handprint when you see it on your beer store shelves because not getting the pleasure from drinking these beers will cause you more pain than that ill-advised, late night back slap from your bro.