The Brewholder: Get A Hold of This – October 18, 2016

Here’s some brew news that I’ve heard about recently:

The Pottstown Brew Fest is this Saturday – you can still get General Admission tickets online –    Hope to see you there!

Winners from the Great American Beer Festival were announced on October 8 – here are the winners from Pennsylvania (in alphabetical order by beer name…) – congrats to all!

Antonym – 2SP Brewing Co. (Bronze)

Bridge Street Bock – Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Phoenixville (Bronze)

Love Stout – Yards Brewing Co. (Silver)

The Russian – 2SP Brewing Co. (Gold)

Croydon is Burning – Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. (Bronze)

Six Finger Sam Saison – Two Rivers Brewing Co. (Gold)

Churchville Lager – Neshaminy Creek Brewing Co. (Bronze)

The Philly Beer Week’s “2017 European Vacation” Raffle is in full force!  Purchase a raffle ticket and win a trip to Belgium with your choice of a local brewer, and help brew the official Philly Beer Week 2017 Collaboration Beer!   Raffle will be held at the City Tap House, Logan Square on November 17, 2016 at 6pm.  Will you be the lucky one this year?  Purchase your tickets here:

The last weekend of the Evil Genius Pop-up beer garden is happening this weekend; here’s the official announcement – “While the brewery is estimated to open in mid-November, get a chance to see the space as a pop-up one last time before it becomes a permanent fixture next year. On Thursday, October 20th, Home Brewed Events has partnered with FemALES on Broad: Barley’s Angels Philadelphia chapter to host a special ladies night at the Brew Garden. Learn how to homebrew while you sip on local brews from Evil Genius and Saint Benjamin. A special Halloween themed day will take place on Saturday, October 22nd from noon until 10pm. Attendees will enjoy happy hour pricing for anyone in costume, a special beer tapping, a Halloween costume contest and DJ ElectroBecker. Please let me know if you would be able to help spread the word about these two events and if you would be interested in attending either, we would love to have you as a guest. Cheers!”

Today Victory Brewing Company issued a press release that divulged “seven secrets about Golden Monkey…”  “Golden Monkey fans have supported, and love, the all-seeing, all-knowing, mystically spirited, metallic simian since its introduction in 1997 and have made it Victory Brewing Company’s number one selling brand ever since. In honor of the mystical monkey, Victory invites fans to vote for finalists in the ‘Monkey Tales’ contest at, choosing creative or funny anecdotes, enlightening observations or extraordinary memories relating to the enjoyment of Golden Monkey. One photo grand prize winner will be announced on October 29, 2016.

Appropriately, the history of the Golden Monkey traces back to a celebratory occasion when Ron Barchet, Co-Founder and Brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company, and his wife were expecting their third child and wanted a great beer to cheer the occasion. It seemed only appropriate that Victory would rise to the occasion and so the smooth Belgian-style tripel, Golden Monkey, was born.

Below Ron Barchet reveals seven secrets of the Golden Monkey:

1. It had a name before it was born

Victory Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski, conjured up the Golden Monkey name long before it was brewed. Usually, it’s the other way around: marry the name with the beer. “But Bill really cracks up when he sees monkeys, and somehow he came up with this clever and strange name—and it just fit,” Ron added.

2. Perfection pursued for 10 years

Ron tinkered with the recipe continuously for about 10 years for it to become the Monkey you know and love. Turns out, the original yeast from Belgium was good, but it wasn’t reliable, resulting in too much sweetness. In 2004, Ron was in Belgium and got his hands on one of his favorite brews, and that yeast became the inspiration for Golden Monkey. “That yeast worked so well to maintain flavor and make it a dryer, less sweet beer, just as I’d suspected,” Ron said. “We continued to work on it and since around 2008, the formula’s been the same.”

3. The Monkey and the Vine are just fine

Wine enthusiasts who claim not to like beer tend to enjoy Golden Monkey. Ron gives credit to one of their philosophies as brewers: drinkability. “We’re attenuating the beers (which is the percentage that measures the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the fermentation process), so there’s not a lot of sweetness and carbs left,” Ron explained. “Most have a final gravity on the low side because most of the sugars have been fermented out. That makes for an easy drinking beer.”

4. It takes a really big tank to hold the Monkey

Golden Monkey is a bold beer coming in at 9.5% ABV. Thanks to the way it ferments the yeast—very vigorously—Victory had to purchase tanks to accommodate the 25–30 feet of foam. “That’s about 20 percent bigger than we need for other beers,” Ron laughed. “And that nets the same amount of beer. Completely worth it.”

5. Increase in population since the birth of the Monkey

Legend has it that the enjoyment of Golden Monkey has lead to an increase in population. Ron had some fun with math to see if he could ballpark Monkey-related births. “Even if just 1 out of 100,000 bottles results in a bundle of joy, that’s more than 100 births a year!” Consume The Monkey responsibly.

6. The Monkey is omni-present

Golden Monkey is available year-round in three different formats and on tap including 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans and 750 ml caged and corked bottles. It’s on draft at Victory’s three brewpubs—Downingtown, Parkersburg and Kennett Square—and at fine establishments near you. “We decided to can Golden Monkey because it’s really popular down south. It’s sold in convenience stores, and they prefer cans to stock their shelves. It’s turned out to be a really popular way to drink The Monkey—perfect for camping and other outdoor activities.”

7. The Monkey lives on and on and on…

Although the recipe has remained virtually the same since 2008, Victory finds new ways to experiment with Golden Monkey. In 2013, the golden elixir was aged in white wine barrels for three months and introduced as White Monkey. A seasonal iteration, Sour Monkey, is a sour Brett tripel, available in 750 ml caged and corked bottles. It’s a tasteful, tart twist with a citrus-laden tang. “We love sours, and this was a natural match,” Ron noted. “It brings a tart acidity and is an interesting combo.”

And finally – did you hear that AB InBev made another purchase? But instead of a small craft brewery, they are now going to the source – and gobbled up Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply.  According to Beer Street Journal, “Northern Brewer was founded 23 years ago by Chris Farley (not the actor). Since then the homebrew supply group has grown to one of the largest in the United States, posting $10’s of millions in annual revenue.”   As with most press releases from new AB InBev acquisitions, a blog post on Northern Brewer’s website dated October 14, 2016 (“Brewing An Exciting Future”) asserts that nothing “will fundamentally change.”   We’ll see.  

Have a great week!


The Brewholder

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