Tasting Notes: Grass Monkey from SweetWater Brewing Company

IMGP5451_editedSince spring is just around the corner, we welcome the season with a little Tasting Notes action focused on Grass Monkey from SweetWater Brewing Company (Atlanta, Georgia).

Grass Monkey debuted back in February as SweetWater Brewing’s newest Catch n’ Release Seasonal.  To make this offering an ideal option for spring weather drinking, Grass Monkey is an American Pale Wheat Ale that packs “a big citrus blast” thanks to being dosed with “a big stash of Lemondrop hops.”  Lemongrass herbs were then added to the equation to give the beer “a refreshing twist and exotic aroma.” At just 5.4% ABV and 35 IBUs, this brew proves to be “extremely complex but very easy drinking.”  Grass Monkey is a Seasonal release that will only be around until April.  You can find this offering available in 12 oz. cans, 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and throughout the rest of SweetWater Brewing Company’s distribution area.  I do believe that covers all the necessary background information, so let’s pry off this cap and get to some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Grass Monkey from SweetWater Brewing Company

Appearance:  Grass Monkey fills the glass as a bright golden colored brew that pulses with burnt orange hues at its center.  Held to direct light, the golden yellows gain more vibrancy and softly glow.  The body is lightly hazy, but a steady carbonation presence can still be seen coursing within.  The pour produced nearly a full finger of tight white foam.  Showing that it has an incredible level of retention, the head maintains its size throughout the experience despite leaving plenty of chunky strings of lace behind after each sip.

Aroma:  Pure and unmistakable, wonderfully clean notes of lemon simply billow from the glass.  We are talking the full fruit: zest, pith, meat and juice.  Lemongrass is close behind with supporting citrus, grassy and herbaceous, tea-like qualities. The wheat is light in the aroma, but it is still present enough to lend some bready, grain sweetness.

Taste:  Just as in the aroma, gorgeous notes of lemon lead the way here.  With just the right amount of citric tartness, this lemon character translates as more of a fresh-squeezed lemonade that has been made with just a sprinkle of sugar and dash of lemon zest.  Not too sweet, not too sour, not too bitter. . . just a chance to truly appreciate all of the refreshing qualities of the lemon.  The lemongrass then supplies earthy, grassy and herbal aspects that further accentuate and complement the lemon.  The flavor profile rounds off with just a touch of underlying pine and some light malt sweetness that reads as honey wheat bread.

Mouthfeel:  This brew is light in body with a peppy carbonation presence.  It is both lightly sweet and hoppy on the palate, but it each sip fades quickly and cleans up nicely.  At 5.4% ABV, the alcohol plays no role here and keeps the experience wonderfully easy drinking and refreshing.  The aftertaste is just a grace of lingering lemon.

Final Thoughts:  Grass Monkey ultimately comes together as a fantastic warm weather brew that successfully uses the easy-drinking nature of the American Pale Wheat Ale to act as a vehicle for a truly hop-focused experience.  The Lemondrop hops are beautifully showcased as the star, but this has been done in such a manner that they are not overly aggressive or bitter.  Just as you feel the hops about to take firm hold of your palate, the wheat and subtle lemongrass notes intervene with a wisp of sweetness and some attention-grabbing complexity.  Although the label reads “hoppy’, overt dankness was clearly not the intention. No . . . the intention here was to achieve optimum levels of refreshment while still respecting everything that these unique hops can offer a beer’s flavor and aroma.  If that was the true endgame when SweetWater was brewing this beer, consider that mission accomplished. If you have not yet, make sure you pick up a sixer or order a pour of Grass Monkey before its Seasonal run comes to an end in April.  Prost!