The Monster of Morrisville

vmDon’t let the sweeping pastures or small-town-USA main drag fool you – there’s something lurking in the fertile hills of Morrisville, Vermont.  Something bold and cunning.  A creature that will attack your senses, yet leave you wanting more.

The worst part is that this beast was created by a pair of seemingly charming people who love making beer and sharing it with the world.  The couple is Matt and Renee from Rock Art Brewery, and their creation is appropriately dubbed The Vermonster, a hopped-up American Barley Wine with the heart of a lion.

Never one to be intimidated by an aggressive beer, I decided to screw up my courage and go toe to toe with the (Ver)Monster of Morrisville…

photo-2The pour was a dark and cloudy, with an enticing golden ruby color and a thick and creamy head.  Right away you could smell the hops and then some more hops.  Scents of grapefruit and pine rose from the glass, joined by the sweet caramel smell of malt. Maybe I could learn to love this brute after all.  It certainly made quite an impression before the fist sip, that’s for sure.

Upon taking that first sip, the Vermonster roared, dazzling my taste buds with an avalanche of citrus and pine. Just when I thought I could take no more, the beast relented and my mouth was filled with the sweet taste of caramel that faded to bitter grapefruit and pine.

Turns out this is no monstrosity at all, it’s a just a very confident brew that walks right up to the line of “too much” and then happily dances away again.  It’s also a little sneaky, as you’d never guess that this beer contains 10% alcohol by volume.  It finishes warm, but its barley wine roots help keep its secret safe.

I recommend that you watch out for the Vermonster, because this is one you’re going to enjoy, especially if you like a hop bomb that hasn’t sacrificed drinkability in the name of IBU’s.  It’s tricky to create an untamed behemoth that is so lovable that townsfolk put down their pitchforks and torches and pick up their pint glasses, but the mad scientist at Rock Art have done just that.

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Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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9 Comments on “The Monster of Morrisville”

  1. Don
    October 2, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Great Post Jim! Makes me want to try the barley wine. If for no other reason than to say I stared the vermonster in the eye and lived to tell about it!

  2. Jim
    October 2, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

    It’s a really neat beer. I don’t think you’d classify it as a barley wine upon tasting it because of the crazy hops, but the sweet and malty nature of a barley wine keeps everything in balance. I’ll definitely grab another one of these in the future.

  3. October 5, 2009 at 4:05 am #

    Maybe 12 years ago my wife & I were in a Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont where they had an ongoing contest. I don’t remember what the prize was, but if you could eat this monstrosity of an ice-cream tower you would win. It was huge! It had brownies, bananas…all that good stuff.

    There was some hiker there trying to finish this thing, and he looked to be in real bad shape – like his system was shutting down. He wouldn’t win, that was clear in spite of the support (and egging on) of his hiking buddies. This crazy ice-cream abomination was called strangely enough, the Vermonster! We left and never found out what happened to the guy. I would bet though that this Vermonster had more calories than the Rock Art Vermonster!

    • Jim
      October 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm #

      I’ve seen Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster on Food Network’s “Unwrapped” and it looked sickening, like the thing you’d make your kid eat to “cure” them of an ice cream addiction. After the Vermonster, you probably don’t want to see ice cream for a little while!

      As to what happened to the hiker you saw trying to finish one, from what I understand a lot of times the contents of the bucket wind up back in the bucket after a short period of time, if you know what I mean 🙂

  4. Rob Crozier
    October 9, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    Jim – you used to work with my wife, Angela, at TrimSpa…she was the receptionist. She passed along the info to your blog and am excited about reading more stuff about beer. I’m fairly new to the beer world but I am very passionate about drinking and learning about all things beer.

    • Jim
      October 9, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

      Welcome Rob! I’m so happy Angela pointed you in our direction. You’re lucky to be new to craft beer, because it means you have lots of fun exploring ahead of you. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend going to the Liquor Outlet in Boonton. While you’re there, ask for Kevin M. He’s really knowledgable and super friendly. He can make some terrific recommendations. Also, check out some of our friends we’ve linked to on the right of the screen. These guys really know their stuff and their sites are a great place to learn more and ask questions.
      Anyway, thanks for dropping by. Please tell your friends, too.

      • Rob Crozier
        October 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

        Looking forward to checking out the links. I’m already scheming to have an outing at The Shepherd & The Knucklehead thanks to you.

        I’ve been to Liquor Outlet many times…really nice selection. I usually meander for a while completely overwhelmed – I’ll have to remember to ask for Kevin next time I’m there. I’ve already sent a link to your blog to a few people.

        • Jim
          October 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm #

          I often get overwhelmed, too, and wind up grabbing stuff I’ve had before or a few random bottles. Last time I was at the Liquor Outlet and spoke with Kevin, he turned me on to several really interesting beers based upon stuff I’ve had, stuff he likes or what’s new and seasonal. Anyway, I left with an armload of new beers that were really enjoyable and my horizons were expanded. And their cash register was expanded, too, as I purchased more than I had set out to!


  1. Go Buy a Rock Art Beer (or Three) « Beer, Whiskey & Brotherhood - October 15, 2009

    […] reviewed the Vermonster on this site recently (it’s awesome – go get one – today) and have had the […]

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