NoDa Brewing Company’s MONSTRO Bottle Tasting Experience
Yesterday, I had the incredible privilege to attend a private tasting of Monstro, NoDa Brewing Company‘s Imperial Barrel-Aged Stout. Now I had always heard great things about this beer; however, I had not had it before. Sad, I know being the ‘beer enthusiast’ that I am…
It seems the folks at NoDa were looking out for me though as I was pretty excited to find out that the tasting involved both 2016 and 2017 versions of the barrel-aged goodness. Let’s just say that I was blown away by this beer–both versions of the beer were excellent, and it was amazing to try them side by side! Personally, I enjoy doing that when I can–comparing beers which age well over time; it is so interesting to compare and contrast the sights, smells, and flavors. Beer is such an unique beverage, and it’s really cool to see how some of them age over time.
The 2016 version of Monstro was incredible. Dark, dark amber–nearly black–in color, this beer had notes of vanilla, bourbon, and espresso on the nose. The taste did not disappoint either as notes of cocoa, espresso, bourbon, and vanilla all combined in an amazing and balanced flavor experience. Towards the back end of the taste, a noticeable toasted/burnt bready flavor was detected from some of the roasted malt. It was an interesting, pleasant, and welcome note. The flavors really seemed to have meshed so well over time. The beer was not overly boozy, and all of the flavors were easily discernable.
The 2017 version of Monstro was very good as well. With the same appearance and many of the same aromas, this beer was definitely more boozy. The alcohol and bourbon notes, courtesy of the barrel aging process, were definitely more pronounced. The other flavors of cocoa, espresso, and vanilla were there, but I feel they took a back seat to that boozy flavor up front.
Again, both of these beers were incredible. However, I personally preferred the 2016 version best. I feel the aging really served the beer well, allowing the flavors to mesh and marry while providing a mellow balance of each, which was amazing. On the other hand, some folks enjoy their barrel-aged beers more on the boozy side, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. As a matter of fact, the 2017 version was a favorite of many of the writers and enthusiasts at the event.
I had an amazing time at the Monstro event. Aside from enjoying an amazing barrel-aged imperial stout, I was able to meet some other amazing craft beer writers and enthusiasts–some of which I had only ‘known’ through social media. We all had a blast–great beer and great beer conversation. After all, one of the best things about Craft Beer is its amazing community!
Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Ford, the founders of NoDa Brewing Company, Chad Henderson, NoDa’s Head Brewer who provided the history and details of the brews, and Ivey Amburgey for organizing the event!