Straight To Ale "Monkeynaut" IPA

The last Straight to Ale had a devil and a giant 4 on it. This one has a screaming monkey in a space suit, so they have a string of interesting labels, I'll give them that. I opened one of these beers, and it was flat. I don't mean a little, either - it was completely without carbonation. Fortunately, that one was a fluke. I poured it out and grabbed the next one, and this one is fine.

This sucker is kind of an amber-orange color with a nicely sticky white head that boils down to a thin layer across the top that covers it completely from side to side. The aroma is delightfully hoppy with pine and flowers that are scaled down with a fine malt in the form of fresh bread.

First sip is crisp. That's the best word for it, too. It has a bit more fruit than I expected from the smell, and it is nicely tamped down by the malt so that the bitterness isn't overwhelming anything. There are no screaming monkeys yelling that bitterness is king, and all must bow before it. Instead, there is a snappy beverage that mellows and chills. I wonder how it gulps.

Tip-in is bready malt and just a hint of the pine hops. It's kind of sweet and very nice on the lips. The middle comes up with floral hops to join the pine, and the malt subsides. This results in an overtone of bitterness, but it's not obscenely harsh; it does kind of make the relaxed beverage a bit more tense than it needs to be. The finish sweetens a bit to cut that bitterness, but the bitterness continues a while, but without the flavors. The finish needs a bit of work.

Bottom Line: It's unique and interesting, but it needs more polish to be truly great.



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