What’s that, you say? What is up with Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA? Shipyard already has an IPA? You’re right, of course, I think they do. And though I have always loved Shipyard Fuggles IPA, it’s good to set things straight right away. Specifically, Fuggles IPA and Monkey Fist IPA are two very different animals. Let’s start with the Fuggles: as the name implies, this is a single-hop IPA that showcases English Fuggles hops.
Then too, Fuggles is not a particularly potent IPA at 5,8% alcohol by volume, and it does not overpower with hop flavor or aroma. That is not to say those are not present, I just think that hallmark of Fuggles IPA has always been balance and proportion.
Not so with Shipyard’s newest IPA. No, if you want to get hit over the head with hops, than having someone swing a Monkey Fist at you is a great way to do it. In sailor’s terms, a monkey fist is a knot, but you’ll literally think you’ve been walloped after taking a sip of this vibrantly hoppy brew.
Monkey Fist IPA is brewed with three varieties of distinctly American hops: Cascades, Warriors, and Glaciers. The latter is perhaps in homage to the Fuggles IPA, since Glacier hops are an American hop bred from the Fuggles variety. Malts used are Munich, Pale Ale, Crystal, caramalt, and wheat. The end product has an alcohol content of 6.9% by volume. Ringwood yeast fermentation adds its own unique flair.
Monkey Fist IPA runs $8.99 a six-pack here in the Atlanta area, about par for the course for craft beer these days. My bottle has a best by date notch of November, 2013, so seems quite fresh.
Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA pours to a bright amber color with a thick creamy head formation and a robustly resiny hop nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace coats the side of my glass and follows the liquid all the way to the bottom. Taking a sip, the beer has a firm caramel maltiness up front with a hint of butter and toast. Mind you, enjoy these while you can, because the extreme hop attack quickly takes over: wonderfully resiny, a tad citrusy, packed with juicy hop aroma and, at the last, mouth-puckeringly bitter with an herbal, grassy dry bitterness.
I really, really like this beer folks. It has hops in multiple dimensions: aroma, flavor, bitterness, and each in different ways. This would be a great beer indeed with a plate of fiery wings or other such spicy fare. Don’t miss it! If you’re a hophead, Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA is the beer for you. It certainly is for me, and I will be back for more of this delicious brew.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.