There can only be one undistributed beer of the week. The competition is fierce in San Diego's beer community, but someone has to take the title. This week's best undistributed beer is ...
MONKEY PAW BREWING COMPANY: RICH MAN'S
ABV: 8.7 percent
Pair with: Sharp cheddar or roasted chicken
This rich, malt-heavy and balanced Double IPA comes to us from Nick Norton, head brewer at Monkey Paw Brewing Co. Norton previously brewed at Stone Brewing Co. in Liberty Station and joined Monkey Paw as their head brewer, replacing long-time brewer Cosimo Sorrentino who left the company late last year.
Since taking the new opportunity as head brewer, Norton has been brewing up some new and old recipes while honing his craft at his new home. Rich Man's is one of the older recipes, but perhaps one of the more unique beers around San Diego in that it keeps to a style that seems to be overlooked with the hop-forward brews we see today. It's satisfying to be reminded of what a malty, dank and strong beer tastes like, and that it too is damn good.
"Rich Man's is a traditional, North West-style Double IPA. The malt bill is pretty simple; it's a bunch of base malt, two-row, and then there's a light caramel malt and a medium caramel malt. Hop side, it has the heavy sea hops but is dry-hopped some Chinook, Colombus and Simcoe," Norton said.
This beer is resinous and also offers a heavier body than your typical hops-over-balance Double IPAs. To me, this is one of few solid double IPAs in San Diego that features more of a classic taste profile. Norton agreed, stating that it's why he gravitates toward this beer himself.
"You can't really find this beer out on the market right now. It's got a really awesome malt backbone. You get a little bit of sweetness from the caramel malt, but the hops are still the star of the show. It's more of that resin, pine combined with some citrus. It's less fruity and kind of new-age. We have been brewing this beer for five years," Norton said.
On the nose of this beer, you get a lot of pine-y notes. The aroma is flavorful, but has much more maltiness than you would typically see in most double IPAs offered in San Diego these days. It's a good return to something that we have always loved, but perhaps forgot about simply because it just isn't really available as readily as it once was.
While existing on the line up on-and-off for years at Monkey Paw, Rich Man's is still local to San Diego, only. That touch is what makes Monkey Paw special; they still offer their best beers to those loyally stopping by their brewery each week.
"We are very local-centric. We are very proud San Diegans, and some of the best beer bars in the city sell our beer, and we like it that way. We sell 70- to 80-percent of all we make on-site here at Monkey Paw," Norton said.
Norton has been getting more and more comfortable with his new gig and is looking forward to putting out more delicious beer in the coming year, he said.
Swing on by to try Rich Man's, available now on tap at Monkey Paw Brewing Co. Get it while it's cold!
805 16th St., East Village. monkeypawbrewing.com