For those of you who don’t like beer, I apologize because that’s what this post is about… more specifically The Monk Brewery & Kitchen in Fremantle, Western Australia. For those of you who like beer, you’ve come to the right post. Prepare to be in awe!
The Monk opened in April 2010 in downtown Fremantle. It is a large tan-brown building that is partially constructed with recycled wood from an old railway line. Pretty cool right? It has a number of tables outdoors and the inside is open and welcoming. The tables surround the bar area which has fermentation tanks in the center that you can see through glass windows. Depending on your seat, you can also watch as the chefs work their magic.
I didn’t know a lot about The Monk when I showed up at its door. I just new that it was local and I love local. So, I picked out my seat and great server came over and welcomed me, offering me a menu that had a number of delicious sounding dishes as well as a number of beers. After a quick scan of the menu, I knew what I wanted: the sampler. A tray of all seven “everyday” beers plus a seasonal specialty. The beer in season now: The Bounty [an American Style Stout with Toasted Coconut]. Awesome.
The eight beers that came out to me were beautifully lined up in an antique-y looking wooden cutting board. That’s honestly, the best way to describe it– it was awesome and it made me want to ask if I could purchase one right then and there. I also wanted something to snack on, as I hadn’t had anything else except my coffee. I ordered a cheese plate. The description said “Our rauch beer is blended with Capel cheddar, celery salt, and mustard. Sides of bacon crisps, crusty bread, apple slices, and honey.” Served again on a beautiful wood tray, this dish was better than I had hoped for… a giant chunk of cheese. I was a bit skeptical of the honey, but it really brought out the flavors. I posted pictures of the beer sampler and the cheese plate below. YUM.
Now, onto the beers:
Mild: 3.5%ABV. European Low Alcohol Lager or Leichtbier. It is similar to a Pilsner but has a very low alcohol content, so many people who will need to drive drink it. It is made with Saaz hops, hops that hail from New Zealand and offer a light lemon citrus flavor to the beer. It has a very light hoppy taste.
Kolsch: 4.9%ABV. Lightly fruity, dry finish. It is in a way similar to a lager but is probably more related to a German Pale Ale. I would say it’s similar to Heineken but with more of a fruity undertone.
Wheat: 6.0%ABV. While most similar to a Belgian Witbier, this Wheat was unlike any I had tasted before. While most wheat beers use a mix of orange and coriander, the Monk Wheat uses mandarin, coriander, and a hint of cumin. It is very lightly cloudy and has a sharp hit at the end of the sip. I am usually a huge wheat beer drinker and I think this was maybe in the middle of the different beers I tried at The Monk. [All were delicious and I would honestly have any of them again!!]
Pale: 5%ABV. This was not at all like an American Style Pale. It falls under a more recent category of Australian Pale Ales [apparently newer over the last 5-10 years]. It was actually created by the brewer as a project for the University he was attending. It sold out in the University’s tavern and is The Monk’s best selling beer. A very light fruity hint without the harsh bitterness of American Pale Ale.
Rauch: 5.3%ABV. This beer has a dark red color and it tastes and smells like smoked bacon. Seriously. The smokiness is so strong through the flavor it is amazing. It is not, however, made with any bacon or other meat product. It is 100% vegan [as are all of the beers at the Monk]. Very unique and a must try.
The Chief: 6.3%ABV. This beer is a traditional American Style IPA. It is very bitter and hoppy on the end. The brewer in this case does utilize American hops. It is highly popular and has won many awards [then again every beer at The Monk seems to have one at least one award].
Porter: 4.9%ABV. This beer is known as a brown porter. It has strong coffee and chocolate flavors. When I drank it, I felt as though I were having my morning iced coffee with a bit of chocolate mixed in. YUM. I am not a huge Porter fan, but I will say that the Monk Porter is lighter than a Guinness and so if you are not a strong Porter fan, you should still try this one!
The Bounty: 5.5%. This beer is a coconut stout. After fermentation, the brewers add heaps of toasted coconut. The flavor is incredible; a hint of chocolate and lot of toasted coconut. I have never tasted a beer like it and has definitely blown me away. It doesn’t matter what type of beer drinker you are [and even if you’re not], try this beer!
All in all, every beer at The Monk was fantastic. The range of flavors and colors was impressive and I had a hard time deciding which type I liked the most. After much consideration, I choose The Bounty as the winner. As I mentioned above, a truly unique taste. I highly recommend The Monk to anyone in the Fremantle area hoping to try some great local brews. Great atmosphere, lovely people, and delicious food and beer!