I have no idea what monkeys have to do with Philadelphia, but the nearby beer makers at Victory Brewing Company seem to have a thing for primates. Its uber-popular Belgian tripel, Golden Monkey, has become perhaps the Victory flagship beer since its release in 1997. Its popularity inspired Victory to take the same Belgian yeast and make a sour Belgian tripel—appropriately called Sour Monkey—in 2015. In 2019, Victory’s beloved Monkey line expands again. This time, the result isn’t another Belgian tripel—it’s a Belgian-style blonde ale brewed with mango called Twisted Monkey.
Appearance and Aroma
Twisted Monkey may be a blonde ale in style, but it looks like a dirtier blonde in practice. This slightly darker gold beer is the shade of gold you get when you combine the primary colors of “beer” and “mango.” As well as those two blend visually, mango comes to the forefront when the pint glass comes closer to your nose. The aroma is pretty compelling, somehow both fruitier and hoppier than you’d otherwise expect from a blank canvas blonde ale.
Twisted Monkey still managed to sneak up on me, prompting a totally unprompted, 'Oh, that is good.'”
By now, everyone’s had a blonde ale or wheat ale featuring a dash of some fruit—from strawberries to apricots to lilikoi. But Twisted Monkey still managed to sneak up on me, prompting a totally unprompted, “Oh, that is good.” If you’ve ever snacked on dried mangos, the experience Victory presents with this beer isn’t so different. You get a quick burst of fruit flavor up front, followed by a hint of beer tickling the tongue.
Despite its lack of tart citrus, Mango has increasingly become a popular IPA addition in recent years: brewers like Destihl, Troegs, and Ballast Point all have their variations to offer. But for me at least, I reach for an IPA when I’m feeling bitter, and a dessert-y fruit like mango almost mellows those aspects of an IPA too much. With Twisted Monkey, the brewer opted instead to lean into mango indulgence with a lighter base beer. In retrospect, that doesn’t seem so Twisted—it’s good beer logic.