With store shelves lined with competing craft beers and countless IPAs, craft brewers have had to turn to polarizing flavors and label designs in order to capture the attention of buyers browsing the isles. But, in the case of Back Bay's Farmhouse Brewing's latest IPA release, Monarch, there's hard evidence to suggest that a balanced profile and simplistic design still appeals to buyers - as long as the flavor is there to back it up.
Monarch IPA Craft Beer Review
Monarch is a New England style IPA brewed with El Dorado, Citra, and Cascade hops, coming in at a modest 7.5% ABV. With a nearly all-white label, adorned with a monarch butterfly front and center, the feeling of simplicity is conveyed from the jump, and that's a theme carried throughout the drinking experience.
Immediately after cracking open the can, I was presented with gentle grapefruit and mango aromas, exaggerated only slightly once poured into a glass. In addition to fruity and tropical, I would also describe the aroma as sweet, in that the bitter aroma from the hops does not overpower, and the slightest hint of watermelon can be detected due to the use of El Dorado Hops.
Farmhouse Brewing's new Monarch IPA pours a deep golden color with a thick, lingering foam head. It is slightly hazy, but not clouded and opaque as you will find with other hazy IPAs rising in popularity. Some traces of lacing were present while enjoying the beer, but I did not find the head off-putting as the texture did not distract from the flavor as you might find with "soapy" textured heads.
On the first sip, the grapefruit flavor presents itself up front thanks to the Cascade hops, followed by the more tropical, mango flavors that carry all the way through to the finish. The bitterness of the hops was moderate and very well balanced. Monarch is smooth and medium-bodied. Unlike other IPAs dry-hopped to emphasize the bitterness, Monarch has no long-lasting bitter taste that sticks around until the next sip.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Farmhouse Brewing's new Monarch IPA. It's simple. It's balanced. The brewers haven't attempted to make something outlandish and unorthodox in order to draw attention. Instead, they have opted for an easy-drinker with flavor profiles that are palatable and a moderate bitterness that can appeal to the masses. With all of this said, I would happily recommend this not only to IPA lovers but also to someone who is working their way into IPAs and who hasn't developed the pallette to handle the bitter profile and high ABV found in today's IPAs.
Well done, Farmhouse. Well done.
Monarch is currently available for pre-sale in 4-packs for $15.00. It will be released Friday 10/9.