This past Saturday Matt and I took a trip into the city to tour one the local craft brewing companies springing up all around us, Monday Night Brewing. It was an awesome experience. Here we are four days later and I’m still thinking about it. Now, part of that could be stemming from the fact that I haven’t enjoyed an after-work beer at all this week. Sorry guys at Monday Night, there’s a valid reason for that. But mostly I can’t get the taste of the beer out of my head (two brews in particular) and I’m in awe of their branding. I’ll get into both of these reasons a bit later. For now, let’s learn a little about:
Monday Night Brewing
This company has probably the oddest start-up story I’ve ever heard. It was born out of a Friday morning Bible study! I know, sounds crazy. A group of folks were meeting up every Friday at 6 am. As you can imagine, this wasn’t the easiest time in the day for them to get to know one another. So when one of the guys picked up a brew kit, they all checked their schedules to find a time to meet up (Monday evening looked good) and help him brew his first batch of beer. And thus the first Monday night beer was brewed. I’m told it was…drinkable.
This Monday night meet up became a ritual and the next thing you know, more and more people started showing up. Soon everyone was looking forward to their Mondays, because that meant a chance to hang with friends and brew beer.
Eventually they decided that it would be totally rad to turn this little “hobby” into a business. They made a 3 year plan and 5 years later Monday Night Brewing was officially launched. During those five years, they were perfecting the recipes for Eye Patch Ale (their IPA) and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale (close to a stout taste).
A crisp, drinkable IPA. The earthy deliciousness of Cascade and Magnum hops, combined with upfront malt flavor, and balanced with a pirate’s sensibilities. Our Eye Patch Ale is a uniquely drinkable take on the American IPA – sweet caramel, citrusy flowers and swashbuckling adventure abound with every pint.
- 6.2% ABV
- 46 IBUs
- Hops: Columbus, Cascade, and Magnum hops
- Grain Bill: Marris Otter as a base malt, with just a hint of Rye malt
A roasty scotch ale with a hint of smoke. Full-bodied, but not overpowering. Smokey, but not in a creepy bar kind of way. Sweet, but not obnoxiously so. Sound like your ideal mother-in-law? Fair enough, but it also is a pretty dead-on description of our Scotch Ale. In a difficult hop-growing climate, Scottish brewers relied on other ingredients to impart flavor and bitterness – one such ingredient was smoked malt. Drafty Kilt is a dark, malty bombshell of a beer.
- 7.2% ABV
- 26 IBUs
- Hops: Columbus and Willamette hops
- Grain Bill: Includes cherrywood-smoked malt, chocolate malt, and roasted barley
Then last summer, we were introduced to their third offering, Fu Manbrew (Belgian-style wit). It was obviously well received, because it won Bronze in the US Beer Open its first month and Gold this year. Now, while I’m sure that the guys and gals at MNB are very proud of this accomplishment, this beer holds another distinction for which they should be even prouder, I love it! It holds the honor (such a big deal) of being the ONLY wit I like. I generally despise all things wheat when it comes to beer, but I adore this one. I think it’s the ginger.
A bright, spicy Belgian-style wit. An effervescent, easy-drinking wheat beer, brewed with Belgian yeast, German hops, and a whisper of ginger from the Far East. This mustachio’d Belgian-style wit believes that good beer defies borders. The name Fu Manbrew was crowdsourced with some help from our friends at Scoutmob. They call the mustache a “Flavor Savor” for a reason.
- 5.2% ABV
- 15 IBUs
- Hops: Hallertau
- Grain Bill: Pilsner and wheat malt
And that leaves their final beer offered in bottles:
Blind Pirate Double IPA
A surprisingly balanced double IPA. A pirate without the use of his eyes is a bitter man indeed. And this Blind Pirate’s bitterness is only matched by his boldness. He doesn’t care if you enjoy the citrusy, spicy combination of hops on your tongue, the faint herbal notes in your nose, or the exquisite balance of caramel malts looting your senses. The Blind Pirate is a bold, bitter ale not for the weak in spirit. Just don’t ask him if you can borrow his sight glass. He gets offended.
- 8.2% ABV
- 85 IBUs
- Hops: Simcoe, Willamette, Columbus, and Cascase
- Grain Bill: Marris Otter as a base malt, with Munich, caramel, and a smidge of wheat
So here are my highlights from the tour:
The four mainstays- I already knew I liked all of their beers and so I was looking forward to retasting what I already knew to be good…..
but I was pleasantly surprised to experience…
Two special tour brews- They had a cask of their Eye Patch Ale all jacked up on Mosaic Hops. Sweet mother of pearl! It was so freaking delicious. As a hop hound, I was in heaven. And then low and behold, I tasted something even more delicious, their Eye Patch Ale with Serrano peppers. Hear me when I say, this is one of my favorite beers of all time. I couldn’t get enough. They have to bottle this stuff. It just needs to happen. Or at the very least, let’s get some of those special kegs out to some metro Atlanta pubs. I would be very pleased if one made its way over to Local Republic. hint, hint.
The marketing- The branding is just so clever and well conceived. They adopted the loosened neck tie as their logo to signify all of those Monday nights when they arrived in their work attire (corporate suit and tie get-ups). The slogan: Weekends Are Overrated. Genius. And the branding is everywhere, from the tap pulls (shaped like neckties), to the “suit guy” on all of their bottles (with the beer name theme cleverly worked in….Fu Manbrew dude sports a fu manchu), to their “Tie One One” wall of ties (if you bring one to add to the collection, you’ll get a dollar off the normal tour cost of $10).
The tour itself- Tour guide (and co-founder), Jonathan Baker, was so informative. We especially loved the detailed description of their beer making process. And at $10 per person (cost includes tour, pint glass, and 6 generous tastings), it’s a bargain.
So as you can see, they are off to a fabulous start. They just started bottling 6 months ago and already I’m seeing their beers in more and more locations. And after the tour, I’m going to tell you that there will be nothing slowing these guys down. The brand is solid and the beer is superb. Atlanta won’t be able to contain Monday Night! So my recommendation beer lovers in the ATL or surrounding areas, is to make plans to take a tour now. Later you’ll be waiting in a very long, well earned line.
Check out their plans for other brews and learn more by clicking on the link below:
Stay positive & love your life!
Listening to: Speedy Ortiz – Tiger Tank
Eating: Sweet Potato Pot Pie (lentils, sweet potatoes, and polenta)
Random fact: I can only wink my left eye.