Where In Town: Connecticut Avenue Wine & Liquor, 1529 Connecticut Ave. NW
Price: $17.99/750 ml
Brett It Be: Belgian-style India pale ales are an odd hybrid that too often straddle the middle of the road to drinkability. They never really satisfy; they just fail to disappoint. (No wonder Flying Dog Brewery’s version, Raging Bitch, is so enraged.) So why add insult to insipidness and adulterate things farther by adding Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that produces flavors alternately described by beer critics as “dirty socks” and “sweaty horse blanket”? That’s exactly what Alaska’s Anchorage Brewing Company—“where brewing is an art and Brettanomyces is king”—has done with Bitter Monk. The result, however, is a Belgian IPA worth drinking.
Barrel of Funk: Anchorage Brewing has been reducing beer enthusiasts to quivering “Brett”-worshippers since its white-hot debut earlier this year. But Bitter Monk deserves special attention, if only because it’s a rare example of a beer that’s truly unique: a bold Belgian-style West Coast double IPA not only spiked with Brett but also aged in French Chardonnay barrels. A perfume of tropical fruit and grapefruit laced with funky grapeyness hits the nose, giving way to a deep hop bitterness, tartness, and spiciness. Notes of footwear and equine perspiration are kept to a minimum. Thankfully.