The Brewski Report Reviews Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale
File Date: 5.22.2011
File Name: An import that isn’t an import.
The Beer: Monty Python’s Holy Grail Ale
Type: English Pale Ale
Stats: 4.7% ABV
Brewer: Black Sheep Brewery
Web Site: www.blacksheepbrewery.com
State/Country of Origin: United Kingdom (England)
Brewer Info: Our HistoryIt is almost impossible to believe that The Black Sheep Brewery is only 18 years old. In fact it was in October 1992 when our beers first made an appearance in pubs in and around the Yorkshire Dales. The delivery of those first casks of beer all those years ago began a new era for Paul Theakston, whose family has brewed in Masham for six generations. It also allowed him to put behind him the heartache left by the often acrimonious battles that culminated in the “old” family firm of T & R Theakston Ltd ending up at the time as part of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. The events that led to the loss of independence of the Theakston brewery had rumbled on since the early 1970s, with Scottish & Newcastle finally seizing power in 1987. Although offered a position in the big company, Paul decided that that style of life wasn’t for him. What’s more, it would have meant him leaving his beloved Masham. Determined to stay in Masham and being a long, long way from retirement (both age-wise and financially!!) it didn’t take long for Paul to conclude that small brewery life was what he wanted. The decision was made; create a new but traditional style brewery in Masham…
Brewer Brand Hype: Another fine addition to the Black Sheep flock of premium bottle ales. This ale was specially commissioned to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Monty Python in 1999. Ten years later on the 40th anniversary Holy Grail is still going strong. With more hops than a killer rabbit, it’s a full-flavoured golden ale with a distinctively fruity flavour followed by the Black Sheep signature dry finish. Dangerously fruity against a biscuity malty background. You can always taste the difference when an ale has been tempered by burning witches. In this respect Holy Grail certainly doesn’t disappoint with its clean zesty flavour and long crisp bitter finish. We brew Holy Grail with Maris Otter malt, an old and expensive variety that is renowned for the taste and the quality of the beer it produces. A mixture of old English Hop varieties including a touch of WGV hops gives Holy Grail its lovely fruity nose. 2009 was the 40th anniversary of Monty Python and the 10thanniversary of our Holy Grail. To celebrate we are currently supplying the beer in all theatres showing the hit musical “Spamalot” on the nationwide tour. Did You Know…
That Holy Grail is our most popular beer in the US and Canada? All our bottled ales are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.
Label: Tempered over burning witches.
The Brewski Review: I was somewhat perplexed by this beer. When I rolled the bottle around to check the brewer it listed Rochester, NY. At first I thought the retail shelf stocker made a mistake by putting a domestic beer with the imported. But, upon further research, I learned that the beer was subcontracted to Highfalls Brewing Company – the same company who brings you Genesee (In 2009 Highfalls was purchased by KPS Capital which then merged Labatt USA, Dundee Brewing, Pyramid, Magic Hat, MacTarnahan’s as well as Highfalls under a new name: North American Breweries.). More than 50% of the production of Highfalls is contracted out for other brewers such as Boston Beer Company and Coors. According to 2010 records, Highfalls is the 8th largest brewer in North America (betcha didn’t know that). Why I mention all this is because I don’t really consider it an import. It has the name and address of the brewery who owns the name and recipe, but it was brewed in the states. To me, it’s false advertising. If I wanted a beer brewed in Rochester I go by a Genny Cream. I purchased an imported ale which, to me, was nothing super special. I was hoping for a great tasting beer and instead drank something that was average with a colorful story behind the name. The movie? No doubt a classic from yesteryear. The beer? Not a classic in my mind and probably because it’s linked to an old movie which many new drinkers now-a-days never even heard of or seen.
Drinkability: Nah. I’ll try something else.
Appearance: Darker golden/bordering on amber color. Max head.
The Buds: Smoother than other English Pale Ale’s I’ve tried.
TBR Cap Rating: 3.75 out of 5 caps.