Appearance - The beer is a rich gold color and very clear in the glass. It has a bubbly, foamy head and we can see beads of carbonation streaming up through the liquid.
Aroma - Spicy and heady. The aroma reminds us a lot of mead! We also get a strong yeastiness, like rising bread dough.
Taste - Oh, wow, was ever a different experience than the first time we tried this beer! Right away, we tasted honey and ginger: sweet, spicy, and hot. This transitioned into a brown sugar and fresh orange juice flavor with a nice balance of bitterness at the end. We could definitely taste the heat from the alcohol on the tongue and in the throat after a few sips, but the alcohol is otherwise very well-hidden.
It has a creamy, full-bodied feeling in our mouths. There's a lot of carbonation, which gives the beer a crispness that works well with the heavy malts and keeps them from being overwhelming.
Our overall impression is that this is a big, complex beer. Every sip seemed to reveal something new and interesting, especially as the beer warmed up a bit. We haven't had a lot of other tripels to compare this too, but our reaction is positive. This isn't one that we'd keep stocked in our fridge for everyday drinking, but it's a good choice for special occasions.
Food Pairings - There's so much going on in this Golden Monkey that we wouldn't want to pair it with anything that would distract or complicate. A basic dinner salad with an acidic dressing would go really well, as would simple steamed fish or other seafood. It would also pair very well with caramel and nut-based desserts. Definitely try it on it's own, too!
Have you ever tried Golden Monkey? What do you think?
Related: Beer Guide: All About Pale Ales
(Image: Victory Brewing Company)