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Monticello Reserve Ale (Starr Hill)

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Monticello Reserve Ale (Starr Hill)

Friday, 26 July 2013 12:00

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Written by 

The Buzz:

        Coming from the Starr Hill brewing company, this Monticello Reserve Ale hails from the from Thomas Jefferson's plantation by the same name. Supposedly based on the original recipe brewed at the plantation and served as a "table liquor" to guests, the beer consists of lightly hopped wheat and corn.


 Life of the Party:

        In the world of light, hoppy ales, Monticello certainly deserves your notice. My first impression upon tasting is that this is a pretty immaculately crafted beer, something I've come to expect from Starr Hill. There's no skunkiness, or taste of impurities. What it is then is an exceptionally clean tasting, light, almost sparkly beer. I also really like a sort of fruity taste I get on the back on my tongue as it goes down, and the feel of the beer as I chew it around in my mouth a bit.

 

Potential Hangovers:

        I feel like this beer's greatest flaw is that it almost tastes like there could be so much more flavor, and yet there's a pretty big hole right in the middle. I get the sparkle on the tip of my tongue, and a bit of fruit on the back, and but in between...nothing. And the color is actually kind of off-putting to me; if you've seen an episode of the Bearded Brew Review, you know Biggs gets a preconception of a beer based on its color (not hard to understand why), and the color of Monticello will definitely turn off some beer fans like Biggs.

        Also you HAVE to let this breathe a bit before you dive in. On my first sip with was nothing but bitter, and a taste of what I can only describe as spicy with zero heat. I hated it. But then I kept sipping, and over about 15-20 minutes or so in the pint glass it really came to life. But even then I have to say that Monticello Reserve Ale is gonna be a real hit-or-miss for you. I typically like ales for how light and refreshing they can be, and how easily drinkable they can be (though of course this is a gross overgeneralization; I've had some ales almost as thick as some stouts). Monticello gets the light bit right, but it's not very refreshing, and this is not an easily drinkable beer. I'm almost having to work through the beer; sometimes this can be enjoyable (like a good chocolaty stout, or a heavy IPA), but in something this light it's a little unpleasant.

The beer label, on a dark-brown pint-sized bottle

The Vibe:

        If you like to experiment, and appreciate a good ale, then Monticello is certainly worth a try, and a spot on your shelf of collected beer bottles. But as I said, this will be very hit-or-miss, and it's negatives will weigh on you while you drink it down (especially that it's almost a workout). I know the list of hangovers is much longer than the positives, but I believe this beer is worth giving a shot. If you don't like it, it isn't very expensive, and so you won't be out very much.

 

Plus/Minus:

+ Exceptionally well crafted

+ Very clean

+/- Flavor is VERY hit-or-miss

- "Flavor hole"

- Not easily drinkable

- The color

Read 678 times Last modified on Friday, 25 April 2014 02:54

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Tanked Matinee is the place to go for good drinking movies. What do we mean by that? Simply speaking, we evaluate and recommend entertainment media based on how much fun it is to watch with friends on the sofa and a cold beer in hand.

Everyone knows "The Godfather" is a great movie, but is it as great to drink with as "Roadhouse?" We can appreciate "Citizen Kane" as a masterpiece of cinema, but is it as good a centerpiece for your party as "Santa Clause Conquers the Martians?"

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