Torreo Sub Rosa & Noël
On a cold winter’s evening, you could do worse than to find yourself nursing a pint at Monnik Beer Co. In a world of rapidly multiplying options for beer lovers, Monnik offers some genuinely unique takes on craft beer right in the heart of Louisville’s Schnitzelburg neighborhood.
Monnik’s beer menu has something for every taste, ranging from simple, low gravity domestic-style options like their 3.5% abv Mild George to periodically available special taps featuring barrel-aged renditions of some of their beers. A recent trip yielded an incredible pour of Monnik’s Najaar, a saison with a clean fruit and spice character, aged six months in a barrel that formerly housed Triple Smoke whiskey from Bowling Green’s Corsair Distillery, resulting in a ruby-hued tipple that drank more like a fine fortified wine than a beer. They’ve got something at all points between these two as well, affording beer drinkers of every inclination something to love.
If you can manage to order something other than their fantastic IPA- no mean feat once tasted- there are a few beers at Monnik that go beyond well-crafted yet recognizable styles and may leave you puzzling over their complex and unexpected flavors and aromas.
One such beer for me is their Torreo Sub Rosa. As the name hints, this lager marries rich smoked malts with a mildly sweet berry note of rose hips. The Sub Rosa pours cloudy amber with a minimal white head and a prominent rosewater and peat scent. Beneath this distinct signature, this beer has an undercurrent of white pine and a faint orange oil bitterness that lingers alongside mild flowery hops.
Another standout is Monnik’s unique abbey tripel-style seasonal Noël. At 7.5% abv, the Noël was the booziest menu beer on my last visit, and was just the ticket for a wintry Friday night. This clear, honey-orange beer projects a strong bouquet of lavender, almost like expensive French perfume mingled with a spicy edge of fresh ginger. A friend suggested it was precisely the scent of Fabuloso multi-purpose cleaner. It is a little like that, but I’d wager Fabuloso has nothing on Noël in the taste department. The soft bitterness of the hops and a lingering ginger-lemon flavor wrap up this excellent seasonal brew.
Taken as a whole, Monnik Beer Co. is certainly among the best destinations in the area for those seeking top-quality, locally produced beer, not to mention great food. They even support Louisville’s thriving microbrew culture: word is, brewers drink free. You might consider taking up a new hobby. A+