They say if you throw hops in anything American craft beer drinkers will gobble it up. But I find the same is true of anything branded as Belgian, don’t you? The mark of Belgian (especially Abbey) seems to give a beer some prestige. However, that doesn’t seem to work at all in the favor of Monk in the Trunk Organic Amber Ale by Inlet Brewing Company. It only has the faintest Abbey character; otherwise, it’s pretty mild and forgettable.
Monk in the Trunk : Appearance
More copper than amber per se, though a pretty shade that’s mostly clear. Carbonation is noticeable at first, but it dies down eventually. Pours to a small, off-white, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves little lacing.
Monk in the Trunk : Smell
Lightly sweet with amber malt character and a general Belgian estery quality. Seems to be a bit oxidized, too.
Monk in the Trunk : Taste
When I think amber ale – be it American or Belgian – I think pretty big flavors, especially on the malt spectrum. This beer certainly is more malty than hoppy, but that’s not saying much since the palette as a whole is rather boring and restrained. There are flavors akin to herbal tea, which seems to be due to slight oxidation (sherry, lemon lollipop flavor) and a complete lack of hops. I really get no bitterness here at. I don’t get much in the way of Belgian yeast spiciness as promised on the label. That’s not to say it tastes disgusting, though. I would consider this a more neutral-tasting beer than a bad one. There’s minor sweetness – which is nice – but not enough to really carry the bulk of the palette.
Monk in the Trunk : Drinkability
At only 5.5% ABV, Monk in the Trunk is actually quite light for a supposedly Belgian-style brew. The mouthfeel is thin, light and the carbonation dies down quickly. It is at least smooth and there’s a slightly sweet aftertaste which isn’t bad. Still, this is too light-bodied for its own good. Perhaps if it was bottle-conditioned it would seem more authentic.