Drinking on a Monday is a short column where I share that one bottle that I open after the most dreadful of all weekdays.
I cover too many IPA’s in this column, I’m not going to deny it. I’m a huge fan of the style (rare, I know), and I’m really starting to develop my palate to a place where I can identify different hops and know what I’m looking for in a new IPA release. But with three IPA posts over the last 3 weeks, its time to vary things up a bit, and my weekend trip to Monkish Brewing has given me the opportunity to review one of their latest bottle releases: Matrimonium, a ‘belgian-style imperial stout brewed with coffee & lavender’.
With a pop of the cap, Matrimonium fills your lungs with a deep roasty character from the dark malts and coffee. There isn’t a huge amount of lavender here in the nose, but as with many of Henry’s beers, there’s that essence that’s certainly present but probably overpowered by the belgian yeast aroma. It pours into my tulip an opaque black with a chocolatey-brown head that holds strong with bit of lacing around the glass. First sip and I’m hit with a surprisingly bright carbonation for the style, but its well-suited for the bready yeast flavor that follows. As it hits the back of your throat, there’s a burst of all the flavors the description promises – coffee, chocolate and a nice hit of the floral character from the lavender. It warms your tongue beautifully and as its temperature rises that perfumy kick really becomes more pronounced. I have to confess I haven’t had a huge variety of belgian-style stouts, but this one manages show off that belgian yeast better than others. At 11.1% it hides it’s booze well, with a bold, but not overly strong character.
While at the Monkish taproom the other day, a friend and I discussed how Henry’s tendency to go for balance and subtlety can occasionally leave us wanting more. The descriptions of his beers are always so exciting, but often those complex additions aren’t as pronounced in the flavor profiles as we would like. I love what they are doing at Monkish, but sometimes I fear my tastes have been trained to prefer bold, in your face flavors. Regardless, Matrimonium is a belgian stout that doesn’t hide any solitary piece of it while remaining] incredibly balanced, without being overly subtle.