Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Like it or not, summer is coming to an end and rather than sit around and complain, I’m trying to enjoy the last few sips with the appropriate beer. Sure, I’m still drinking IPAs, but there’s nothing like a refreshing Belgian ale or a sour ale while enjoying the outdoors on a hot afternoon. During a recent trip to my bottle shop, I picked up efforts from my usual local breweries but I wanted something that I haven’t had before that would be perfect for late August, so I grabbed GW’s Little White Lie, a tart cherry Belgian style ale from Michigan-based Monkey Fist Brewing Company.
Finding information on this brewery was a little tricky. Upon a quick Google search, it took me to Middlecoast Brewing Company, an apparent division of the Traverse City-based Monkey Fist. I’m not sure if the company is in the process of switching names or what but the website was a hodgepodge of the two names, with GW’s Little White Lie attributed to both names. But, whatever the case, I’m going by what I see on the can right in front of me and that’s a 16-ounce pounder can of a tart cherry Belgian style ale from Monkey Fist. This 5.8 percent ABV, 13 IBU witbier features a hint of natural cherry to match the malt, for what should be an easily sippable, smooth beer, perfect for these last few days of summer, when the air is clearly beginning to crisp.
I’ll be perfectly honest here, I was drawn to this can simply because of the label. I had never had anything from Monkey Fist before, despite being aware of the name. The artwork on it is pretty awesome, with a healthy dose of patriotism that really just makes you want a taste. It has a red, blue and cream look and almost an Instagram-like filter to it. Featuring a portrait of George Washington in full military attire and holding an axe, there’s an American flag draped behind him, though the circular Betsy Ross era stars have been replaced with cherries, to drive the point home.
I cracked this beer open and immediately gave it a whiff. It had a somewhat typical wheat smell for this type of beer, with hints of cherry and orange peel aromas to round it out, though overall it wasn’t pungent. When I poured it into the glass I was a little surprised at the haziness of it – proving it was an unfiltered beer – with a golden color and a white head, which was pretty predominant, though I will admit that I’ve had better pours, despite using new Samuel Adams glassware.
And then came the tasting, which this medium-bodied beer delivered on fairly well. The mouthfeel was a little sticky and acidic, which I thought was spot-on for a medium-bodied witbier like this one. I noticed the cherry flavor and the wheat, both of which were also easily smelled, right away along with just a little bit of spices and a smidge of fruitiness provided from the hops. Honestly, I would’ve liked a little more cherry flavor here, though Monkey Fist made it clear on the website that there was a hint, however if you tout a beer as featuring cherry and draw the fruit all over the can, I’d like maybe a little more. For that little gripe, I will say that this beer is as smooth as it can possibly be and I appreciate that – it really makes it easy to drink and I’m certain I could sit down with a few of these and a fine cigar.
I picked up this single for $3.10, so I’d imagine a four-pack will run somewhere in the $15 range. When I checked it out on BeerAdvocate, I was surprised to find that there were only nine ratings of this beer, with an average score of 3.81. Sometimes I feel like I’m right on point with that site, as I would probably rate this one in the same ballpark, maybe a little lower at a 7.1 out of 10. As I said, I enjoyed it and I loved the smoothness and drinkability but more cherry notes might have set this beer further apart from about a dozen or so similar witbiers that I’ve had in recent years.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.