The Fat Ape Double Indian Pale Ale is an unerringly fantastic beer. But the best way to understand the quality of this brew is to explore competitors to provide a more complete view of the Fat Ape’s triumphs.

Indian Pale Ale, or IPA, is a style of beer brewed fairly slowly until a deep amber color arrives and a body of rich hops can take hold. They differ from pale ales which rely largely on barley for body. Many brewers of IPAs put their own spin on the style. The Hercules Double IPA from Great Divide Brewery smells of pine but has a nut flavored finish. Sierra Nevada’s lineup of IPAs are all golden like a lager and citrusy. Both of these would be a great choice for an ale fan.

But what sets the Fat Ape Double IPA apart from other beers in its category is its plainness. In fact, what makes the Fat Ape a great beer is that it is not likely capable of disappointing anyone. As opposed to so many other IPAs, which at times seemingly attempt to go for the most far out flavor combinations imaginable in order to separate themselves from the crowd, the Fat Ape is a typical British pale. It is not extravagant, it is practical. It is not fruity or immensely sweet, it is teasing and accessible.

While there is a bevy of beers that can manage to be drinkable, precious few can manage that while being distinguished. The first sip is as easy as the last. Despite being loaded with a aromatic hop flavor, the Fat Ape is as much a highly enjoyable thirst quencher as it is true pale ale. The brew is well balanced and would serve as a great introduction for unseasoned IPA drinkers. Strangely, the beers best features seem to go fold both into and out of its worst features.

All the familiar signatures of an IPA are present. Early, light notes of spice are followed by a bitter, yet welcome finish. Lager fans may think the prospect of a bitter end to an enjoyable drink may be unsuitable. But the Fat Ape accomplishes its drinkability chiefly with a cycle rotating between sweet, hoppy beginnings to a bitter finish. The motion may like an imposition at first, but the rotation quickly becomes more enjoyable. Each sip satisfies any displeasure of the last. It keeps you coming back.

The Fat Ape is brewed in Nottingham, UK by Blue Monkey Brewery. It stays true to its British brewing roots with wheaty flavorings over a vienna-style malt. Designed for maximum drinking ease, the Ape still manages to pack a fisful of American hops in every sip. At 7% ABV, this golden amber brew would likely be a welcome part of any multi-round bar trip or backyard gathering.

The Fat Ape is not a chore to manage. It sits very well on the stomach and could be a good addition to a hearty meal of beef or pork easily. Best served in a glass, the Fat Ape has a fantastic aroma that is worth taking the time to pour to experience. Originally produced as part of Blue Monkey’s lineup of seasonal specials, the Fat Ape is perfect brewed for upcoming the Alabama summer. The Fat Ape Double Indian Pale Ale is available to interested drinkers at fine craft brew dispensers and the Alcove International Tavern for a very reasonable six dollars.

This is one monkey you won’t want to get off your back.


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