Tied House Café & Brewery — Menage a Singe — 8%

San Jose’s venerable Tied House Brewery calls this a Black IPA—a designation that seems to be losing support in favor of the more exotic-sounding Cascadian Dark Ale, or CDA—an interesting category that has been seeing a lot of play lately. This one, with its bready mouthfeel and hearty toasted grain bill, almost veers into porter territory.

Whatever you want to call it, the beer pours a dark brown, and if held to the light, looks remarkably like a flat Dr. Pepper. A lot of people seem to have had a problem with over-carbonation, but this bottle only pushed a small “tan cotton Dockers” head without much retention and some minimal lacing.

Menage a Singe—or House of Monkeys—throws an interesting spicy nose, bringing to mind Indian food for some reason [note to self: that could be a great pairing that bares further exploration]. The first sip is all toasted malts with a hot hop finish followed by an aftertaste of bitter chocolate and coffee.

For an IPA, this brew is not as hop-forward as I expected but they do assert themselves late on the tongue. After thinking “Dr. Pepper,” the power of my own suggestion could be leading me to imagine a hit of prune, but I’m going out on a limb to call out a note of dried fruit that gives this beer an interesting character—almost like a “winter warmer.”

I’m not sure what the current state of Tied House Brewing actually is—now that they’ve partnered up with Hermitage—but I’ll be picking up some more of these tasty beauties while the picking is good. Plus, the label has monkeys on it.

Grade: B+


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