Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale: A Great Brew for the Holidays

Photo courtesy of Beer Obsessed, Beer and Brewing Journal

Every year about now I begin to think about the holidays.  I know it is only August, but before you know it these suckers will be upon us, and the Mastercard and Visa folks will be going crazy.  This is the time that I begin to think about all those bills, and also about what I’m going to be drinking over the holidays.  Every year Jim and I sample a bunch of holiday brews trying to find the flavor of the holidays, but invariably we are let down in one way or other, but I had a Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour ale the other night and I think I put my finger on the pulse of what I will be drinking this year.

I had purchased this bottle about 18 months ago.  At the time I sampled some that was bright and bubbly, and it had a sweet and sour cherry flavor that was very appealing.  I put some age on this bottle, and to my very pleasant surprise it was MUCH better than when I had it fresh 18 months prior.

18 months ago, it had good flavor but lacked a maltiness that gave it body.  It was almost like beer soda pop, not in a bad way, but in a presence in your glass kind of way.  That year and a half magically transposed this beer into a heavier,  maltier, more complex, and very definitely tastier version of the beer I had had previously.

This version still had plenty of bubbles, and a great cherry and raisin nose.  I also picked up on a spice note that was not detectable 18 months ago.  Sort of like cloves, but not as pungent.  The flavor completely transformed.  There was a good amount of carbonation, but the malt body that was lacking 18 months ago now dominated the flavor.  There was still cherry, but raisin, plum and a clovey spice had joined in to really make this a complex, complete, and satisfying drink.

My wife, who hates beer actually liked this, and my son who I have a lot of fun drinking different beers with was thoroughly impressed.  We paired this beer with a ham for dinner, and it was perfect.  A summer time ham can be a nice change of pace to the usual grilled meats, and lighter chicken and fish meals, and this was the perfect accompaniment.

This year for my holiday dinners I will be buying a lot of this beer.  Some to have now, and the rest for next year, when the beer will really sparkle!


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Categories: Beer, review

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10 Comments on “Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale: A Great Brew for the Holidays”

  1. August 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    A nice find! Only thing better would be to sit at Monk’s back bar and have it on tap. If you’re ever in Philly let me know and the first round is on me.


    • Don
      August 12, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      Deal! Sounds like a great place to hang out on a lazy weekend!

  2. August 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    “…I think I put my finger on the puse of what I will be drinking this year.”

    You should really keep some things to yourself, yo.

    Sounds like it’s good for any holiday…like Friday. I may have to hunt one down.

    • Don
      August 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      Fridays are great for Monk’s Cafe. BTW, I fixed my error like 5 minutes after I posted. You must be very bored at work today! What I was trying to get at, and obviously failed miserably, was that I think this will pair very well with traditional holiday fare. Turkey, Ham, Prime Rib, stuffing, gravy. I think it will go very well with those types of foods, and complement these meals very well.

      • August 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

        No, I got it. Just giving you a hard time. Thanks for aging and sharing, BTW. Not enough folks review aged beers.

  3. August 12, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Yo Don!

    This is the 2nd review of this beer that I’ve seen today. Although I’m walking distance to Monk’s on a daily basis, I have yet to try this. Lovely review! Must try this. And if you ever meet up with The Alemonger at Monk’s, I best get a call! Never mess with a Sicilian when food and drink is on the line. 😉


    • Don
      August 12, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      You got it G. Wouldn’t want to get whacked because I forgot to invite you. This was great. One thing, however is that the ageing made a huge difference to the beer. It wasn’t bad fresh, but it was special with the aging.

  4. Darwin Isham
    October 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I live in the Dallas/Ft Worth Tx area, Where can I purchase Monk’s Cafe Ale?

    • Don
      October 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Really don’t have a clue Darwin. Best thing to do is talk to a local bottle shop owner and see if he has it, or can get it.


  1. Beer Review – Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale « It's just the booze dancing… - November 18, 2011

    […] reading a review of the Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale by our friend Don of the Beer & Whiskey Brothers blog, I knew that I had to eventually try this beer. And the fact that it has the Monk’s Cafe name […]

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