|| welcome ||   a journal of our journey in building and running a brewery. 


haiku de saison

Haiku de Saison is a lovely beer and we're excited to share it with you! It's a mixed-fermentation saison that aged in our French oak foudres (large 1400gal wine vats) with our house mixed culture of wild yeast and souring bacteria. For over 20 years these foudres aged Sauvignon Blanc; as a result this tart, earthy, complex saison has layering notes of white wine and oak. This tart saison will continue to evolve with age. This is the first beer from our foudres that we're releasing. 6.3% ABV (750ml corked & caged champagne-style bottles).

Bottle Release is Sat, Nov. 7, but online presale begins Thurs, Oct 29 through eventbrite.com.


Click >>HERE<< for ordering details.




rara avis

We are excited to introduce our newest beer, Rara Avis. "Rara Avis" is a Latin idiomatic phrase for an English idiomatic expression "rare bird." This blended saison was brewed exclusively for The Rare Club and is only available through The Rare Beer Club and through our Tasting Room. So for sure it will not be brewed again :)

The beer which was brewed on Christmas Eve 2014 is a blend of two separate brett saisons: a rye-based saison and a spelt-based saison. Both were fermented with a mixed culture of saison yeast (two strains of brettanomyces, and two strains of lactobacillus) for layers of tropical fruitiness, slight tartness, and earthy funk. After it was blended we decided to dry hop it gently with Amarillo and Galaxy hops (why not?!) to accent the notes of juicy tropical fruits.

The beer will continue to evolve in the bottle so cellar some of this bottle-conditioned "rare bird" :)












It's been a long time since our last blog post. But we wanted to write briefly about the recent additions to the brewery -- five oak foudres (French for large, oak barrel). We purchased them used from Markham Vineyards in Napa, which used them for aging its Sauvignon Blanc. Four of these 1400gal French oak foudres are uprights, while the other one is oval shaped.

The foudres will be dedicated to wild and sour beers. We haven't decided on how we will approach all five vessels. We know it could take quite, quite some time before sour beer will be ready out of these foudres. So we would like to initiate them by devoting a couple foudres for long-haul beers, and a couple for not-too-long-ish sour beer aging. And for the oval we are planning primary fermenting and conditioning 100% brettanomyces beers.

Given our modest business model and funds, we couldn't afford barrel-aging beers at the outset as desired. Aging beers take extra-invested money, time, and real estate. But now having made it past our 2-year mark we have embarked on what we always wanted to do with Monkish -- create sour beers. So we've bought and filled dozens of wine barrels, and we couldn't resist buying these foudres.

Why buy foudres over stainless steel tanks or typical-sized (59gal) oak barrels? Why not :) At Monkish, we try to be focused in what we do and want to do. We're fairly comfortable with the amount of stainless steel fermentation capacity. This year we have invested more money in oak barrels and will continue to do so. But compared to oak barrels, with these foudres we hope we'll better be able to control things related to our brewing process and conditions. And of course, we love their aesthetic quality and storied history in beer- and wine-making! And doesn't the necessitated characteristics of foudre beers - time, patience, and mystery - jive with the virtues of being "Monkish"?!


update 3.16

so i lied about trying to update the blog more. i know that there are many out there who read this with interests in starting a brewery and/or interested about our equipment. so i probably should try to add more posts.

it has now been a year since we first opened our doors to the public. first batch brewed was on 2.12.12 but the first day of sale (which we also use as our anniversary date) was 3.9.12. Much has happened over the year. Perhaps I can find time at some point to reflect on different aspects of our first year...

this merely serves as a quick update to make sure the blog is up to date. photos will be added soon...

-- in June 2012 we added 2 x 30 bbl fermenters and a 30bbl brite tank

-- in Oct 2012 we leased the adjoining unit.

-- in Jan 2013 we purchased a bottle filler.

-- in Jan 2013 we decided it was time to give up self-distribution. so we signed with Incline Beverages for the SoCal region.

-- last month we started putting beer into oak barrels.


a blog entry a week

new year resolution time...

it has been 9 months since we've been open, and it has been more than hectic; thus the silence on this blog. occassionally i meet and/or hear from people that they have benefited from my blog. not sure why really since i hardly post entries...

but i have learned a lot this past year and i feel i should be jotting down thoughts and reflections and simple Monkish updates here.

so my goal will be to write a blog entry a week. we'll see ...

happy new year!