Visitors to the Star at Folly Hall in the recent past may have seen a pump clip for 'Mad Monk' lurking on the taunting pole. It is an unusual beer to see in the Star, an 8% Imperial Russian Stout is a rarity in those parts, the customers being more of the light and hoppy brigade. But after the weeks of taunting it has finally appeared on the bar, I got chance to sample it last night.
It is a collaboration brew, (this seems to be the current trend - I will leave my feelings out here) between two of my favourite breweries and arguably two of the best Yorkshire breweries. Malcolm at Five Towns and Stewart at North Riding have got together over the mash tun and brewed up something different to their usual styles. And believe me, it is a winner.
Obviously dark, and strong, I often come across Imperial Russian Stouts that do not impress me because they not balanced, or too sweet and cloying, or just taste too 'thick'. This is none of these. It drinks far too easily and before you notice your glass is half empty, the balance is certainly there, with the sweetness toned down and the hops and malt combining perfectly. As you get further into the glass the strength does become more apparent but the initial hit is of taste rather than strength. And at £1.75 a half it is a bargain.