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

Thursday
Apr282016

Can release: April 2016

We are NOT having a can release this Sat 4/30. Sorry for any inconvenience.

We did brew a beer destined to be canned and released this week, but it didn't necessarily play out the way we had hoped. It's a sessionable IPA using a new strain of yeast and after tasting it, we don't think the yeast fermentation character fits the profile we are after for our canned IPAs.

For this batch we tried out a new strain (one that's used by east coast breweries for IPAs!) but its fermentation profile was different than the other yeast strains/blends we have used thus far. It took the beer in a different direction. Overall we drank it and it was good! Yes, the beer is good. A very drinkable, crushable session IPA. BUT, dare we say, the beer leaned too much towards a west coast style. Quickly we are realizing certain characteristics we want in our IPAs. So we would like to stay the course.

As mentioned before, we are experimenting with different parameters of these hoppy beers and we are looking for what works for us.

Next canning run is scheduled for Sat 5/14 and it will be larger, double batch of a juicy Monkish IPA :)

Friday
Apr152016

I.P.A.

I to the P to the A...

Monkish is making IPAs!! Actually we have snuck in a couple of "IPAs" recently but we didn't label them as such. So what's the deal?

Since many of you have asked us that question, I should take the time to share some thoughts on it. This might be a bit long winded for some, so skip to end if you just want to know how often we will be canning IPAs :)

The days of No IPA.

People like to draw attention to the sign ("NO MSG, NO IPA") that we hung up for a while in our Tasting Room. I like to refer to that sign as the "NO MSG sign". Well that sign was put up at a time when we, as a young brewery, wanted to focus on making Belgian-inspired,-styled beers and to push that limit. We didn't have anything against IPAs, porters, stouts etc. We were just intentional about being focused. As more breweries opened around us in Torrance, more vistitors hopping from one brewery to the next visited and many assumed that we would have an IPA (or many IPAs) on tap. And after many, many explanations of why we don't make an IPA as a belgian-focused brewery, we put that sign up as a joke -- in the sense, that like MSG, we didn't add any "IPA additives" to our beer. But we didn't anticpate the number of people who didn't take it as a joke. (It's funny that not many people took issue with the MSG part of the sign.) It has been 6 months since we took down the sign. The biggest reasoning behind that move was that one day, Adriana (chief boss of Monkish) – who never liked that the sign spoke in the negative tone – and I had another debate over the sign and I threw a hissy fit and took it down!

We knew we would make IPAs someday.

When Monkish opened we didn't have any contracts for the hops we needed to brew the more cool, hop-forward beers. So it was another reason why we focused on Belgian only beers. After getting hop contracts and waiting for them to take effect a couple years later, we added hoppy options to our Belgian-focused lineup -- Belgian Pale Ales. This gave us the chance to make single-hop Belgain pales so that we could learn about and become familiar with the nuances of different hops like Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, Nelson, etc...

Year Five. We just celebrated our 4-year anniversary and moving into our milestone 5th year we saw this as a good time to start making IPAs. We made a few IPAs and have been exploring different yeasts -- with Off the Record being the first hoppy beer that we felt worthy to be a Monkish IPA. Shortly after brewing Off the Record, our friends from Other Half Brewing came by to collaborate on a beer with us (we in fact brewed two beers -- barrel-fermented Brett beer and an IPA). So it was a great opportunity to use this to launch our "IPA program" (a term we've been using since breweries like to talk about how they are starting a "barrel-aging program"). And if the timing was already good for us to release our first canned IPA, we were able to announe it on April Fool's Day! Perfect!

Monkish IPAs

IPAs comes in all different sizes and shapes. We knew that if we were going to make an IPA, it would be a style that would jive with our identity. For some time now we've been enjoying more (North)East Coast style IPAs – which are generally charcterized as juicy, hazy, with a soft mouthfeel; and we have spent lots of time drinking, studying, and becoming familiar with them. So we leaned toward this style that is more yeast driven. At Monkish, we love yeast-expressive beers - especially those fruity esters. So this "easty" style of juicy IPAs made sense and it's what we hope to be focusing on with our new IPA program!

What's Next

So where are we at? We're experimenting with different facets of brewing these beers: trying out different yeast strains and blends, different fermentation approaches, different hops and amounts for dry hopping, different types and amounts of bitterness, etc... until we find our way with them. So enjoy the ride with us!

We will continue to can these IPAs consistently. And they will only be sold through the Tasting Room (no distro). Starting off in April we will do smaller amounts of cans. But starting in May we are looking at tripling the amount of beer being released and hoping to do it every two weeks.

Thank for the wonderful response with our first canned-IPA release, First Things First. We didn't know if people would come and stand in line for a Monkish-made IPA. But you did! With about 150+ of you in line at opening, we sold out in an hour!

Next release: Sat 4/16: Run the Pigeon (IPA) 7.1% ABV hopped with Nelson, Amarillo, Galaxy.

FYI: Two more can releases in April including a Double IPA! Sorry for the weird can release schedule, but we will be taking a brewing break for the Craft Brewers Conference in early May, so we are on a weird brewing and canning schedule for April.

Thanks for reading, and enjoying our beers.

... And please, please DRINK them FRESH!!!

Wednesday
Oct282015

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.

Cheers!

 

Friday
May152015

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" :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul162014

foudres.

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"?!