If you've been to Audacious Monk Cellars in Melbourne's northern suburbs, you'll know it's one of those bottleshop-meets-bar venues where you'll get to choose from a vast array of quality boozes safe in the knowledge the staff guiding you along the way know and care about what's in your glass. You'll also know there's a solid streak of traditionalism at play; sure, they'll showcase the latest and greatest, but not at the expense of giving classic beers and styles a home.
Which brings us to Punk Not Monk, a collaboration with the team at Bonehead Brewing. It's not often you come across a locally brewed ESB these days, but here they've looked to stick to the template as best they can, right down to the English ale yeast. Pouring copper with an off white head, this Punk's heart is very much in England. Lightly toasted, brittle-meets-beer nuts malts are topped by floral tea aromas while any fruitiness – sweet sultanas and hints of banana – feel as much yeast- as hop-derived. The earthy bitterness is deep and broad, marauding across your palate in the manner you imagine the beer-swilling steampunk on Matt Brick's epic labels might were he sent into battle.
It's not Bonehead's only recent collab either; Gone Phishing sees them partner with Perth's Bright Tank again, this time on a cold IPA so pale and bright it’s almost like champagne in appearance. It's as lean as the style demands, dry as anything, and possesses a quenching, potent bitterness, yet it also pops like nobody’s business. Sherbet fireworks explode from the glass – sweet citrus, drying grapefruit rind, a dash of lime juice – courtesy of the Trident, Cashmere and Simcoe hops.
There's a hacker wearing the Guy Fawkes mask synonymous with Anonymous on the cans; you'd best hope they don't have an open can nearby if they're planning to evade capture as there's nothing anonymous about Gone Phishing.
Published June 1, 2023 2023-06-01 00:00:00