Today, I’m looking at a Founders Brewing Co. beer that is part of its experimental lineup in its Backstage Series.

These brews come in 750ml bottles, are brewed in limited batches and are released randomly throughout the year as opposed to a set seasonal schedule. One of its more infrequent releases1 to this series is the Blushing Monk. Last released in July 2011,2 this Belgian-style ale is brewed with, as they put it, “a ridiculous amount of raspberries and with a Belgian yeast strain that keeps our head cellar operator from sleeping for a week.” The labor intensive process of brewing the beer is the reason Founders claims it’s so far between releases and indicate that it probably won’t be released again for another four years.

I’m not usually a huge fan of beers crammed full of fruits, more specifically berries, as they usually end up tasting a little too close to cough syrup for my liking. However, I respect Founders Brewing, so I’m hopeful that this isn’t the case. Popping off the cap, I pour the deep reddish pink liquid into my glass, and as the quarter inch of light pink head forms on the top I become even more skeptical of what I’m about to drink. The Blushing Monk pours quite clear, allowing the massive amounts of carbonation clinging to the edge of the glass to be quite visible. Bringing the glass to my nose I get a strong, but quite pleasant aroma of raspberries with a hint of bright Belgian yeasts in the background alongside a touch of warm alcohol.

With the aroma soothing my nerves, I take a sip and am immediately greeted with raspberry on the tongue, followed by a slight tartness, some more generic berry fruit notes, yeasts and just a touch of citrus. The long finish continues with more tartness and a touch of yeast. There’s a good amount of carbonation with a light mouthfeel, making it refreshing. The overall taste isn’t too sweet or cloying, surprisingly enough, as their claim for tons of raspberries would make you think it would be.

Founders Blushing Monk 2015
BREWERY: Founders Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Grand Rapids, Mich.
STYLE: Belgian-style ale
ABV: 9.2 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $16.99
RELEASE DATE: March 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 750ml bottles
While not nearly as sweet as a framboise lambic, the similarities between the Blushing Monk and a framboise are quite apparent. The Blushing Monk has the underlying qualities and flavors of a good, crisp Belgian ale with a huge heaping of raspberry flavor on top that stops short of being overwhelmingly sweet, allowing you to enjoy the beer without getting tired of it too quickly. While the good bit of alcohol in the beer was apparent on the nose, it was completely lost on my palate, ensuring that the bright berry notes were refreshing and crisp. I can wholeheartedly suggest you seek this out, even if pink beer isn’t your thing, because it’s a unique experience and taste that Founders puts out, and if you miss out it’s going to be quite a while before you’ll see this again.
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