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Monk’s Blood Dinner

Monday night a beer dinner was held at the 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant in San Francisco to celebrate the release of their newest beer in a can, Monk’s Blood, the first in a new series they’ve dubbed the “Insurrection Series.” The cans themselves will be out in four-packs in about two weeks. Here’s what they’ll look like:

The text around the can reads as follows (thanks to the beer sage for transcribing it, and most importantly, saving me from having to do it):

Legend has it that in the evenings, the monks would retire to their chambers & settle in with a few passages from the Good Book. But Brothers Nicolas and O’Sullivan [21st Amendment partners] had other plans. Working in the brewhouse all day, they were forced to repeat the same old recipes the elder monks had invented years before. They needed a little diversion. And found it in the cellar of the monastery with a fresh twist they put on the beer and the way they enjoyed it. Brother Nicolas (or Nico to his close friend) brought some hand-rolled cigars. O’Sullivan, the outspoken one, broke the vow of silence by spinning a remix of some Gregorian chants. Together, they’d throw down a couple nice hands of Texas Hold’Em and savor the handcrafted brew they created in secrecy. Everyday was good. Or so it seemed. But deep in his heart, Nico knew they were drifting into the ‘dark side’ of beer. Next thing you know they’d be skipping Lent. Then on night they’d face the Judgment for their actions with a hard knock at the door. Outside, the Abbots and elders would be holding stone in the air. A threat the brothers were sure would lead to the spilling of Monk’s Blood.

From the press release:

Monk’s Blood pays homage to the monks of Belgium’s monasteries who have been brewing some of the world’s great beer for centuries. During times of fasting, the monks subsist solely on beer, which they refer to as “liquid bread”. Beer, quite literally, is in their blood. The most sublime of the monk’s premium brews is dark like blood, rich and nourishing.

21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium to develop the recipe for this special beer, visiting small, traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders, not far from the famous Trappist abbey of Westvletren. Monk’s Blood is designed to pair beautifully with rich winter stews, creamy cheeses, unctuous desserts or just by itself, in a Belgian tulip glass, with a good book by the fire.

The beer itself is a strong, dark Belgian-style beer that’s 8.3% abv. It’s 34 IBUs, using Centennial, Magnum and Amarillo hops. In addition to the eight malts (including Special B and oats), an Abbey ale yeast, it is flavored with dark Belgian candi sugar, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and dried black Mission Figs. Then it’s aged on oak. The result is a complex, delicious beer with a sweet nose consisting of a melange of aromas. The flavors, too, are complex with caramel and candy sweetness balanced by American hop character that works surprisingly well. The finish is long and sweet.

The Homebrew Chef, Sean Paxton, relaxing with some Monk’s Blood after the end of the beer dinner.

Sean Z. Paxton, put on the five-course dinner using all of the Belgian-style 21st Amendment beers from the BRU/SFO Project that’s going on all month at 21A and Magnolia. To see the meal and the beers poured at the dinner, see the photo gallery below.

My favorite part of the dinner was the frites, of course, and while most table shared a basket or two of them, because Sean knows my love of frites, I got my own basket of frites. (Photo by Jesse Friedman. To see his account of the dinner, see his Beer & Nosh post.)

Here is a slideshow of the Monk’s Blood Beer Dinner. This Flickr gallery is best viewed in full screen. To view it that way, after clicking on the arrow in the center to start the slideshow, click on the button on the bottom right with the four arrows pointing outward on it, to see the photos in glorious full screen. Once in full screen slideshow mode, click on “Show Info” to identify each photo.

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