Golden Monkey fans have supported, and love, the all-seeing, all-knowing, mystically spirited, metallic simian since its introduction in 1997 and have made it Victory Brewing Company’s number one selling brand ever since. In honor of the mystical monkey, Victory invites fans to vote for finalists in the ‘Monkey Tales’ contest at RespectTheMonkey.com, choosing creative or funny anecdotes, enlightening observations or extraordinary memories relating to the enjoyment of Golden Monkey. One photo grand prize winner will be announced on October 29, 2016.
Appropriately, the history of the Golden Monkey traces back to a celebratory occasion when Ron Barchet, Co-Founder and Brewmaster of Victory Brewing Company, and his wife were expecting their third child and wanted a great beer to cheer the occasion. It seemed only appropriate that Victory would rise to the occasion and so the smooth Belgian-style tripel, Golden Monkey, was born.
Below Ron Barchet reveals seven secrets of the Golden Monkey:
- It had a name before it was born
Victory Co-Founder and Brewmaster, Bill Covaleski, conjured up the Golden Monkey name long before it was brewed. Usually, it’s the other way around: marry the name with the beer. “But Bill really cracks up when he sees monkeys, and somehow he came up with this clever and strange name—and it just fit,” Ron added.
- Perfection pursued for 10 years
Ron tinkered with the recipe continuously for about 10 years for it to become the Monkey you know and love. Turns out, the original yeast from Belgium was good, but it wasn’t reliable, resulting in too much sweetness. In 2004, Ron was in Belgium and got his hands on one of his favorite brews, and that yeast became the inspiration for Golden Monkey. “That yeast worked so well to maintain flavor and make it a dryer, less sweet beer, just as I’d suspected,” Ron said. “We continued to work on it and since around 2008, the formula’s been the same.”
- The Monkey and the Vine are just fine
Wine enthusiasts who claim not to like beer tend to enjoy Golden Monkey. Ron gives credit to one of their philosophies as brewers: drinkability. “We’re attenuating the beers (which is the percentage that measures the conversion of sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the fermentation process), so there’s not a lot of sweetness and carbs left,” Ron explained. “Most have a final gravity on the low side because most of the sugars have been fermented out. That makes for an easy drinking beer.”
- Its takes a really big tank to hold the Monkey
Golden Monkey is a bold beer coming in at 9.5% ABV. Thanks to the way it ferments the yeast—very vigorously—Victory had to purchase tanks to accommodate the 25–30 feet of foam. “That’s about 20 percent bigger than we need for other beers,” Ron laughed. “And that nets the same amount of beer. Completely worth it.”
- Increase in population since the birth of the Monkey
Legend has it that the enjoyment of Golden Monkey has lead to an increase in population. Ron had some fun with math to see if he could ballpark Monkey-related births. “Even if just 1 out of 100,000 bottles results in a bundle of joy, that’s more than 100 births a year!” Consume The Monkey responsibly.
- The Monkey is omni-present
Golden Monkey is available year-round in three different formats and on tap including 12 oz. bottles, 12 oz. cans and 750 ml caged and corked bottles. It’s on draft at Victory’s three brewpubs—Downingtown, Parkesburg and Kennett Square—and at fine establishments near you. “We decided to can Golden Monkey because it’s really popular down south. It’s sold in convenience stores, and they prefer cans to stock their shelves. It’s turned out to be a really popular way to drink The Monkey—perfect for camping and other outdoor activities.”
- The Monkey lives on and on and on…
Although the recipe has remained virtually the same since 2008, Victory finds new ways to experiment with Golden Monkey. In 2013, the golden elixir was aged in white wine barrels for three months and introduced as White Monkey. A seasonal iteration, Sour Monkey, is a sour Brett tripel, available in 750 ml caged and corked bottles. It’s a tasteful, tart twist with a citrus-laden tang. “We love sours, and this was a natural match,” Ron noted. “It brings a tart acidity and is an interesting combo.”