Any true basketball fan will tell you the 3-point shot has basically transformed the game. But how does the number 3 relate to drinking craft beer? Well, it all starts with three craft beer enthusiasts drinking beer from the award winning “3 Monkeys Brewing” company out of Madera, California and drinking 3 more selections from the likes of Mudshark Brewing, Leinenkugels, and Indian Wells Brewing (then having 3 minutes of the show removed based on “technical difficulties” that generally translates into drinking too much beer before the start of the show!)
When first we met our brave craft beer team in the show video thanks to the alcoholic difficulties, the first craft beer featured was the “Boardhead Blonde Ale” from 3 Monkeys Brewing. At 5.1% alcohol and 65 IBUs, this handcrafted Blonde Ale is what a California blonde ale is designed to represent. We found it to have a nice aroma, a citrusy spicy touch when it hits your tongue, and a clean crisp finish that went down nice and easy – it’s about as solid as blonde ale can be and a winner from the up-and-coming 3 Monkeys Brewery!
Up next was the Gold Monkey IPA, a 6.5% alcohol great tasting IPA with 65 IBUs. The pour was a perfect yellow with a long lasting fluffy head with lacing and the clovey/peppery/yeasty aroma hit you immediately with exactly what you would expect from an IPA. The taste was a delicious complex mixture of vanilla, cloves, and spice blended nicely to create a thick flavor of hoppy bitterness that lingered (and hid the alcohol level very nicely as well). A word of warning however: this is not a good introductory IPA for those that have never tried the style – but IPA lovers will absolutely love this beer, we can be sure of that. And by the way, we know our craft beer well, but maybe not so good on Superbowl predictions!
Did you know that “3 Monkeys Brewing” was an award winning brewery? Probably not, but if you ever get a chance to taste their Brown Barrel Ale, you’ll understand why. This is the selection that won Beverage World’s 2015 “BevStar Award” and we couldn’t wait to try it! This English Pub style nutty ale measures only 5.8% alcohol and with 25 IBUs makes for maybe the strongest brown ale you’ll ever taste. The dark pour was perfect and the flavor hit strong with notes of roasted malts, coffee, toasted biscuit, caramel, and chocolate leading to a smooth smoky well balanced taste. This is an absolutely delicious selection. Brown Ale folks, find this at your local craft beer store and you will not be disappointed! (I guess that’s what “Award Winning” means and 3 Monkeys outdid themselves with this, we agree!)
Our last selection from 3 Monkeys Brewing was their Monkey Mouth Stout, a 7% alcohol, 65 IBU limited release which we thought was fantastic! From the amazing color on the pour, to the initial aroma right down to the great taste and smooth lingering aftertaste, this is the stout you need to drink when you’re sitting by the fire contemplating world domination. That’s exactly how it makes you feel! Once again, all the craft beer we sampled from Three Monkeys Brewing was absolutely outstanding, and we’d like to thank Michael from 3 Monkeys for their generosity in supplying us the beer to taste – a great job from a brewery that is really making waves in California and right here in Las Vegas as well!
Then the show continued with a few select craft beers that we had left over from the BrewsBest Craft Beer Festival that we exhibited at on December 5th, 2015. (I know what you’re thinking – “LEFT OVER BEER?” that’s impossible!). We had to showcase craft beer from 3 additional brewers. (once again, that number 3!)
We cracked open Mudshark Brewing’s Double Chocolate Winter Ale, a 9.6% American double Imperial Stout, and boy did we love this one! It poured a very dark brown/black head which clings to the glass as you drink it down. With strong smells of coffee and chocolate (and a strong alcohol level taste too), you’ll also get hints of chocolate and a really nice smokiness flavor, leaving a great satisfying dry aftertaste feeling. Too bad this is just a seasonal, because stout drinkers would love to have this year round! Mudshark Brewing is located in Lake Havasu, Arizone, and after “discovering” these guys, a roadtrip (and an I Love Beer Show on location?) may be in order really soon! After all, that’s what our show is all about – discovering great tasting craft beer and the breweries that create it!
Staying with Mudshark, it was time to taste their “Desert Magic IPA”, a 7.2% “solar powered” IPA. This is what happens when you put together barley, hops, yeast, and water the right way – you get a excellent profile IPA: medium bodied, not too bitter, pleasing beer that’s really easy to drink. In addition to a bronze orange color pour with a frothy head, the slight hop aroma has a grapefruit peel and green apple smell to it, and the taste was one of apple cider, bittersweet citrus, with a touch of caramel. Crisp, subtle, and not overpowering, the nosefeel was totally different from the taste and shows again why Mudshark Brewing is creating some really good craft beer that you may not even be aware of… Time to try their selections at your local craft beer store as well!
Our next selection was the 8.5% alcohol “Big Eddy Baltic Porter” from Leinenkugel Brewing in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. The pour on this beer was sable in color with a small dense tan head with scattered lacing. The aroma was complex and we immediately tasted a well balanced mixture of figs, dates, raisins, and dark fruits, almost like a barleywine taste that surely didn’t taste like a high-alcohol craft beer. The dark fruit formed an undercurrent which carried throughout the taste and finished with a very slight lingering burnt note. The mouthfeel was smooth, soft, full, and slightly carbonated producing a pleasant and quite drinkable porter – which we really did not anticipate from the mostly fruity type of selections that Leinenkugels is know for (and rightly so!)
Then it was time to double up on Leinenkugels by breaking out their 9.5% alcohol Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, a dark and complex stout with 11 malts and grains balanced by 3 different and distinct hops. There’s that number 3 again! IT poured a creamy frothy head with a chocolate brownish color with very good retention and light, patchy lacing. The aroma was one of medium roasted barley, chocolate, caramel, candied sugars, licorice, and dark fruit syrups. But once you taste it, you’ll taste light caramel and toasted bread with light licorice and that same dark fruit presence with a light carbonation and a mildy crisp finish making for a great, well balanced and full bodied ale for stout drinkers everywhere.
We finished up the show with a couple of selections from Indian Wells Brewing out of Inyokern, California. Believe me when I tell you, if you’ve never been to Inyokern (and you probably haven’t because it’s literally in the middle of nowhere), it’s worth a trip there just to visit this brewery and its head brewer Rick. Made with pure artesian water, their 9.5% alcohol Amnesia I.P.A. starts out with a dark gold/pale amber pour with an off-white head that slowly shrinks to a thin foamy lasting head with minimal lacing. The piney aroma is one of fresh cut grass, grapefruit, raisins, and green apple but it’s the balanced nature of this beer that is quite impressive. It’s got a light sweetness and a light marmalade finish with a nicely balanced, smooth, pleasantly firm character that’s not as bitter as you may expect from your tradition IPA taste profile. You would think we’d end the show on such a great and unique tasting beer, but…
WE’RE NOT DONE YET!!!
Staying with Indian Wells, we finished off the show with their Whiskey Barrel Amber, a 12% alcohol amber that was as smooth as can be. It poured clear red with a thin beige head and gave off a sweet malt aroma up front. The wood and whiskey is prevalent midway when you draw a breath in, and the taste is very similar to a hoppy bitterness that finishes very quickly. We all liked it very much, which is to be expected knowing it was produced by a brewery such as Indian Wells. In fact, it tasted so good, Jimmy the camerman was literally floored… which left us at 3 drinkers going full circle!
And so ends another “I Love Beer Show” at Jimmy and Myrna’s Cantina for February 6th, 2016. As usual, stay updated on show happenings by becoming our fan on Facebook, or get bits and pieces of news from our Twitter account or Instagram page. Thanks for watching and your continual support of the show – and remember, we value your input, so if you’d like to be a guest on an upcoming show or know of a great craft beer destination or brewery, definitely let us know and we’ll see you on the next show!