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Beer Reviews

Monarch White

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Two Brothers Brewing Company
Warrenville, IL

Style: Belgian White (Witbier)

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Pair With:
• Bass
• Crab
• Eggs
• Halibut
• Lobster
• Salads
• Salmon
• Shrimp
• Sushi
The style of wit is basically a Belgian wheat beer. Being wheats, they are light both in color and body, hence their alternate moniker, “white” or biére blanche. However, they do not have the same fruitiness you find in traditional Bavarian-style wheats and their signature mix of bananas and cloves. Wits do have some citrusy notes, but this comes not from a specialized yeast strain their Bavarian brethren utilize, but instead from the zest of orange peels and the spice coriander dropped right into the brew kettle.

A truly authentic wit will contain unmalted wheat, which will give the body a little bit of a backbone and add some graininess to the otherwise subdued malt character. And if a brewer wants to go really old school, he or she will also brew that wit with oats.

And that’s how Two Brothers did their take on the style, Monarch, their anniversary brew. It pours a very cloudy yellow, with a sticky, respectable head. I take a peek inside the now-empty bottle: it’s bottle conditioned. Damn straight. I move to the nose: soft, slightly grainy malt notes dance gamely with the coriander and citrus that is the hallmark of the style. The front of the sip is light and a little overly lively, with a strong dose of carbonation jumping all over my tongue. The finish is crisp and quite acidic, with a spicy, almost peppery punch at the very end. With the start of the palate so bitingly carbonated and finish so strongly acidic, the soft maltiness in the middle almost disappears. As the beer warms—which it is wont to do, on, say, a warm summer afternoon—the malt peeks out a bit more and provides a much-needed fulcrum to the center of the beer.

Like a good wit, Monarch is a great summer refresher: light, mildly fruity, and energizingly acidic. The catch is, if you serve it too cold it loses some complexity. So take your time, sip and savor while you patiently watch the sun go down on a beautiful Midwest summer day. It’ll be worth it.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 24, 2008.
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