”Brass Monkey, that funky monkey/Brass Monkey junkie/That funky monkey”
Everyone sing it with me. ”Brass Monkey…”
Ah, Brass Monkey. Not only was it one of the greatest hip hop songs of the ‘80s, it was also a poor-man’s beer cocktail—take a 40 of malt liquor, throw in some orange juice, and bam! Brass Monkey. The name also refers to a premixed, super cheap cocktail of juice, vodka and rum that came in cans back in the day. Once, in an interview, Mike D said the song was actually about the canned cocktail, not the 40/juice mixture.
But I digress, we’re here to talk about No-Li’s brand new Brass Monkey, which pays homage to the 40/juice combo. Although, let’s be honest, No-Li’s Brass Monkey doesn’t have much in common with a 40-ounce of Mickey’s. Your typical malt liquor has a high ABV and is loaded with adjuncts to make it sweeter. I don’t think they bother putting hops in there at all.
No-Li made a malt liquor for craft beer geeks, taking a strong ale with a hefty malt bill and brewing it with seven pounds of orange peel per batch. They also threw in a ton of cascade hops to balance it all out.
Okay, “balanced” probably isn’t the right word for this beer. Brass Monkey is undeniably sweet. Probably the sweetest beer I’ve had in a couple of months, and I just crushed a six pack of watermelon beer a couple of days ago. Granted, No-Li’s version of Brass Monkey isn’t nearly as sweet as I’d imagine the original Brass Monkey would be, but there is an undeniably orange syrupy thing going on here. It’s not as thick as malt liquor, and far more complex thanks to the Cascade hops and addition of bitter orange peel…but this bottle is what it claims to be—a sweet malty beer with a pretty good kick.
It’s fun, it’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and it ain’t half bad. The fact is, if you’re a Beastie Boys fan (or a fan of malt liquor) you’re going to pick up this bottle of beer whether I say I like it or not. Because you’re a Brass Monkey Junkie.
Brewery: No-Li Brewhouse
City: Spokane, Wash.
Style: Strong Ale
Availability: Summer seasonal, in 22-ounce bottles (aka, Deuce-Deuce)