“Weekends are overrated” is the slogan for the Atlanta-based brewery, Monday Night Brewing, which was started in 2011 by three friends, Jonathan Baker, Jeff Heck and Joel Iverson.
The trio met in 2006 in a bible study group at the Atlanta Westside Presbyterian Church. They shared a passion for beer and began brewing in Heck’s garage on Monday nights.
They spent the next five years building a business plan for a brewery and improving on their beers. In 2011, Monday Night Brewing released its first two beers, Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale and Eye Patch Ale, under contract with Thomas Creek Brewery in South Carolina. In 2012, it acquired its first building in Atlanta and officially opened the following year.
The brewery’s necktie-based theme also goes back to their beginnings.
“We started as white collar guys, and when we’d come home on a Monday, we’d loosen our ties and brew beer,” said Baker.
Today, Monday Night has two locations in the Atlanta area, one of which is known as The Garage. This location is where the company produces its sour beers and also houses three barrel-aging rooms, a coolship and an orchard. It is also opening a third location in Birmingham, Ala. in 2020.
One of its most popular beers is Ante Meridiem, a bourbon barrel aged imperial brown ale brewed with roasted coffee from Batdorf and Bronson, maple syrup and Ugandan vanilla beans. Ante Meridiem measures 13.5 percent and has three blends along with a rum barrel-aged version since it was introduced in 2018.
Last September, Monday Night released a new variant called Breakfast Ante Meridiem. The base recipe remained the same. However, instead of aging in standard bourbon barrels, the beer was aged spent bourbon barrels that had been used at Bissell Maple Farm, an Ohio maple syrup company.
Breakfast Ante Meridiem is an imperial brown ale with a 13.5 percent ABV and an IBU rating of 45. The beer was released on Sept. 20, 2019 as Blend No. 1.
Poured from a 500ml bottle, the color is very dark brown, nearly black. The head is thin, effervescent, and tan-colored. Carbonation is medium with little lacing. The aroma is heavy bourbon and maple.
Breakfast Ante Meridiem ale is very full-bodied, matching the strong aroma that springs out of the glass. The mouthfeel is smooth with a medium-light body, which is true to the style. Maple and booze dominate most of the flavor profile, covering up much of the base beer’s typical malty and bitter characteristics. There is also a good amount of sweetness that encompasses the entire beer. The maple flavor lingers gently on my tongue, an aspect I found to be very enjoyable.
The finish is full as well, with lots of maple and a touch of alcohol burn. However, as it warms, the mouthfeel becomes very silky and oily. The boozy and maple elements remain robust throughout the drinking experience and are easily the most dominant portions. Despite being a year-old, this bottle did not show any signs of age.