Now then, needs must and all that. As a dynamic, and relatively sociable / socially-aware / socialist duo, we are not big consumers of bottled beer-age. Say `no` to supermarket sups, we say, but the recent extension to the ale portfolios of retailers in South-West Sheffield (added to all t`tax `n` that) make the odd bottled bender a worthwhile option. Most recently, our favourite off-licence, (especially for those especial vino tintos) Meadowhead`s Mitchell`s Wine Merchants have really upped their game in the quality local beer bottle section. Fantastico!
Blue Monkey Brewery do catch the eye. Whether in bottles or with their prominent pump clips (which have been spotted on odd occasions around the Steel City) the chimpy chappy is the (PG) tip tops in popular pubs.
First up, I tried Guerilla. This is an award-winning ale that weighs in at 4.9%. I found it to be pretty unremarkable to be honest with a steady malty and caramel taste. Fairly sweet but nothing too rebellious pouring dark, dark brown with a little head. Maybe more Citizen Smith than our Che but maybe better from the cask? Next!!!
To Infinity . . . . As a Citra sucker, this is hard to dislike. Very quaffable, a light, hoppy ale allegedly named after the infinite monkey theorem whereby, given enough time and chances, t`chimp could write some (probably very citrusy) Shakespeare plays. I think it was on this basis that the multiple choice questions in our (G)CSEs were scrapped; any monkey could pass them (we did, after all). Apparently, they still use this system in the good ol` US of A, I believe, and thereby we prove-ish that this is a great beer. QED. 4.6%. Drink it to infinity, at least.
Nicely following on from Infinity (if that is grammatically / scientifically feasible) is Ape Ale. This is kind of like the big brother of its hoppy smaller sibling. A more orangey (utangy) APEarance (sorry, enough monkey puns), Ape is an IPA banger hitting you with a palate overload of champion Chinook and Simcoe hops. Very modern. Fresh, citrus but with a fair old alcohol punch, this is a very decent attempt at our favourite ale style tasting a tad stronger than its 5.4%
Blue Monkey certainly seem to be the best that Nottingham has, and by a long way. I`ve never been disappointed by their cask offerings and these three bottles all bode well for this brewery`s future.
Guerilla - 6 / 10
Infinity - 8 / 10
Ape - 7.5 / 10
Hoping to visit the Blue Monkey tap house, The Organ Grinder, before too long and see how these brews measure up in their natural environment because these bottles rate as beer geek`s belters! Monkey tennis?