Ultimate 6er | Best Monkish IPA Releases of 2018 (so far)
With warm weather approaching, the time has never been better to track down the best crushable IPA you can find. Monkish Brewing has easily established itself as one of the best out there at creating top quality New England Style IPAs, and this 6er will guide you through the best cans that have graced us with their presence so far this year.
6) Foggier Window (Batches 4 & 5)
Release Date(s): 01/03/2018, 04/20/2018. Much like the rest of this list, Foggier Window is not your run of the mill IPA. Considered a fan favorite by those more familiar with Monkish beers, this Double IPA is Double Dry Hopped and uses Galaxy, Nelson, and Citra hops. The ABV sits at 8.1%, but this beer is so smooth you would have no idea. It pours a creamy pale yellow, with aromas of stone fruit, melon, and pineapple. The perfect melding of hop varieties creates an amazing flavor profile of more stone fruit, but with hints of passion fruit as well, and a pretty dry finish. With these familiar white wine qualities, a medium carbonation, and a creamy finish, this beer is a great beer for a beautiful day.
5) I Never Sleep (Batch 2)
Release Date: 04/25/2018. People got really excited when they saw this name come across their Twitter feed. A re-release of one of Monkish’s original 10 IPA concoctions, and an amazing one at that. A DIPA brewed with Moteueka and Citra hops, finished out with an 8.4% ABV. I was no where near Southern California during its early July 2016 release, so I was very excited to try this beer. It pours a pale, hazy golden yellow. The nose is sweet, bursting with citrus and hints of malt. It is only slightly boozy, and is evenly balanced with tropical pineapple and mango. With flavors dominated by the same and finishing with a light hoppiness and grapefruit-like citrus, this juice bomb goes down smoothly and is super refreshing.
4) Gasket Hunters
Release Date: 03/27/2018. Monkish fans always get excited when a collaboration release comes up. This beast of an IPA was brewed with Seattle’s Holy Mountain Brewery, and boy did it not let down. Coined under the term “méthode saturation” by the boys at Monkish, this Hop Saturated Double IPA utilized bags of Citra, Comet and Mandarina Bavaria whole leaf hops in the mash, and additional Galaxy hops in the whirlpool stage. It was then dry hopped with more Galaxy and Comet hops. Ringing in at 8.4% ABV it’s no beginner beer, but with a name like Gasket Hunters, did you really expect it to be?
The beer pours a really nice, juicy orange color, and potent aromas of sweet citrus, tropical fruit, booze, and malt all hit your nose in a perfectly orchestrated symphony of dank, juicy goodness. The balance is incredible. The flavors bring out much more of the hops. It is not an overly bitter beer, but the piney/earthy qualities of all those saturated hops really come out and balance tons of sweet citrus and tropical fruit. It finishes with a slight booziness, but has a nice soft carbonation, and juicy, creamy finish that easily puts this into the top six for me.
3) Enter the Fog Dog (Batch 2)
Release Date: 03/04/2018. Part of a double can release to kick off the month of March, this was by far the most miserable release I’ve attended this year. Enter the Fog Dog has been long awaited ever since its hugely popular reception after its April 2017 first batch release. It was a Sunday morning, which was the first problem. People came from all over, and I barely made the final cut for full allotments. They cut off at #430, and there I stood at #427. At one point, over 500 people stood in line to get a piece of this release, and it was understandably mayhem. But worth it? Hell yes. This is also the first Triple IPA to make the list (trust me there’s more coming). Fog Dog was given a “Foggy Window” dry hopping of Citra, Nelson, and Galaxy hops and rang in at 10% ABV.
Its mango juicy pour is instantly met with a great balance of orange, slight dank hops, and tropical pineapple on the nose. It needed a second to warm a bit, but the aromas really filled out after a few minutes. The flavors hit you hard right away with nothing but dank, bitter, and boozy notes. However, it quickly transforms and you get lots of sweet citrus and pineapple to finish it out. The mouthfeel on this may even be its best attribute. A perfect pillowy softness, not too thin and not too thick. The carbonation is low but sharp and effervescent. Finishes slightly sticky. An awesome beer.
2) Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, (Batch 2)
Release Date: 04/11/2018. Another very highly anticipated re-release, this HUGE Triple IPA did not let down. For hops they used El Dorado with a Galaxy dry hopping, and the ABV came in at 10.2%. A deep-hued rusty orange pour, again like Mango juice. Heavy lace leaves its mark all around the glass. The nose on this is so dank and boozy, but at the same time a clear tropical presence comes through, dominated by mango, citrus, pineapple and malt. There’s no mistaking this for anything other than a TIPA. The flavors are more of the same, characterized by big boozy notes and tropical fruit. Mango, pineapple and citrus all come through, and it finishes with a full bodied stickiness and a low, almost seltzery carbonation. Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, can’t you see? Sometimes your beers just hypnotize me.
1) <Insert Hip-Hop Reference Here>
Release Date: 02/01/2018. Not many people who have tried this will argue with this being the top spot on this list. First of all, the collaboration brewery for this monstrous 10% TIPA was none other than Trillium Brewing. Known as the pioneers of the Double Dry Hop (or DDH) sensation, Trillium’s amazing Hazy IPA’s are known by many and have influenced so many more to follow their lead. For this beer, they “SUPERSIZED” Trillium’s iconic “Street IPA” into a huge Triple IPA with nothing but Galaxy hops. The result? The best IPA I have ever had to date.
It pours a beautiful hazy gold. The lace is even and the head is frothy, a head-turning beer already. The nose is predominantly sweet, with a lot of familiar tropical fruit notes like pineapple and mango coming through. There is just a hint of booziness that lingers as well, leaving you wanting more. No need to ask twice. The flavors again burst out the gates with sweet tropical fruits. Might I remind readers at this point that I was double-checking the ABV on the can to make sure I read it right the first time. Only the slightest hints of hop bitterness, while the main event circled around complimentary combinations of malt, orange peel, pineapple, and mango. The body is smooth, creamy, and leaves only slight stickiness in the finish. Speechless. A superhero collab creating a superhero-worthy beer.
UPDATE: Rumor has it that Thanos is ISO cans in the next Avengers movie.
More to Come
It is still early in the year, and Monkish will undoubtedly come up with many more masterpieces along the way. But for now, keep an eye out for these killer cans. Because from my experience and from what I’ve heard, these bad boys have been holding up well.