Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Alpha Kong

Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Munster, IN

Style: Belgian Strong Ale

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

A wise man once wrote, “Please don’t feed the monkeys.” He (or she, since this profundity was anonymous) didn’t explain why it was so important that the monkeys not be fed, but I, being a graduate of eighth grade, have a pretty good guess as to the reasons. It’s because if you feed a monkey too much, it’ll grow really fucking big. As in King Kong big. Then people get stepped on, towers get monkey prints all over them, and you didn’t see Mr. Kong wearing a diaper in any of those movies, did you? Exactly. So don’t feed the goddamn monkeys.

And what did the iconoclasts at Three Floyds go and do? They went and fed the goddamn monkeys. Obviously, we’re not talking about monkeys any more. We’re talking about beer. The exact beer in question is their Alpha Kong, described by the creators as a sextuple, a play off of the Belgians and their penchant for labeling their beers in terms of exponentiality—i.e. their dubbels and tripels and quadruples, etc. The Belgian naming convention doesn’t really mean they use double or triple the ingredients of the “base” version of their beer, nor does it mean it is double or triple the alcohol content. But in Three Floyds’ case … well, you never know with these wackos.

Into my trusty Schlitz goblet the Alpha Kong goes, a stream of dark, cloudy amber swirling out of the bomber it came in. Virtually no head erupts from the pour, which isn’t surprising considering the viscosity of the stuff—molasses in January (a Midwest January) is a good analogy. I lean in for that first whiff: gargantuan, syrupy malt with tons of Belgian-yeast spiciness. I sip. A tongue-twisting maze consisting of those coriander notes indicative of Belgian ale yeast, a tidal wave of thick malty sweetness, and glowing alcoholic warmth along the lines of a giant-ass monkey just peed in the pool. How much alcohol? The folks in Munster are staying mum, but word on the street is that it’s around 15 percent. And I believe it. As the beer warms, the syrupiness thins out a bit, letting the booze audaciously dominate. Legs form on the glass even only after a few sips in. This is one gigantically big monkey, folks, both in terms of alcohol and complexity.

Not to get all frog on you, but straight off, this makes a perfect digestif, if you share with a friend. Otherwise, it makes a good coma inducer. I suspect if you throw this in the cellar for a couple of years it would be the beer equivalent to a stellar bottle of champagne—all that alcohol and malt would mellow out, leaving tons of spicy, yeasty flavor to savor. Plus, there’s nothing like beating a wine snob to a bloody pulp using a bottle with a monkey on it. Just make sure you beat your chest while doing it.

P.S. Did you notice I just wrote a Three Floyds review and not even once mentioned the word “hops”?

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on November 7, 2007.
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