Monkish Brewing Co.
On a recent Beer Crawl, I had the opportunity to taste Monkish Breweries line up. I was not disappointed for the most part, and the one that stood above all the rest was Shoalin Fist. It is brewed as a Belgian Style Saison with a kick. It is brewed with Sichuan peppercorns and gives it a spice that was very nice. What I expected to be another brewery’s attempt to do another “refreshing” pepper beer turned out to be the kick in the mouth I needed to get me revamped for spicy beer.
Shoalin Fist has a very nice Caramel color, not too dark, but rich. It had a nice head to it and the nose was that of pepper, some maltiness, and an herbal quality. Those were the first couple of things that hit me when I encountered Shaolin Fist. I assumed that it was going to be very much another pepper beer, that would maybe taste good for the fist couple of drinks but would drop off as the novelty and spice would settle, making the beer harder and harder to drink. I was very surprised by the flavor the peppercorns were not overpowering but mild and gave the rest of the beer just enough spice to add a new dimension to the beer. Keeping the mild spice in mind, the taste of the beer has a malt flavor with herbal notes and floral notes. This combined with the spice actually made it a nice refreshing beer to have on a warm afternoon.
The biggest test for me was would this hold up as we let it sit, and we let our palate adjust. As I said before, I like pepper beers for the first couple of swigs, but never more than that. after the ten minute mark I sampled the glass again, and I enjoyed it as much as my first couple of swigs. I was surprised that a pepper beer could hold my attention after resting. Shaolin Fist allowed for just enough spice and complexity of flavor to keep my interest and give me that much-needed kick in the face to reignite my excitement for pepper beers.