Hop Butcher for the World | Monster Cave
I always wonder where Hop Butcher comes up with the names for their beers. Monster Cave has nothing to do with the hop combo or a pop culture reference. I’d like to think it’s closer to something like a man or woman cave, just filled with your favorite monsters. Dracula. Frankenstein. Loch Ness. My Pet Monster. Teddy Ruxpin (look at those eyes). However they came about the name, is Monster Cave worth spelunking for?
Monster Cave represents the latest Hop Butcher attempt at a triple IPA (TIPA). I’m not aware of any previous double IPA or IPA that Monster Cave evolved from, like A Digital Frontier basically being Triple Grid. Hopped with Nelson Sauvin and Strata, Monster Cave comes in at 10.5% ABV.
Monster Cave pours hazy, with a bright yellow or orange tint to it. A certain gray dingy color shows up the lower you get down in your glass, but there’s really not a drastic color gradient happening here. I got about two fingers of head when I poured it (into one of the oddly-shaped Hop Butcher glasses I have), which died down to a thin layer after some time. To be perfectly honest, that might not happen for most people.
You don’t need to dig deep to get some of that big, juicy aroma. Monster Cave comes at you with aggressively tropical cues of papaya, pineapple, lychee and melon. Some orange and citrus notes support it. A certain amount of grape is present thanks to the Nelson Sauvin hops. A kiss of honey comes out and plays as well, lending some sweetness to everything and giving off creamsicle tones. Iit pretty much has everything you’d want in a hazy IPA, minus the beach.
Flavor-wise, Monster Cave delivers. (Just like the USPS. Save USPS!) Usually it takes Hop Butcher at least one time to nail it on one of their TIPAs or milkshake IPAs, but this one tastes great both on their first attempt and fresh (it was canned the day before I drank it). Pineapple and oranges dominate the palate, with some sweet white grapes and mango backing it up. You know you’re drinking a beer as you can taste some of the alcohol, but it’s on par with an 8% West Coast IPA as opposed to a 10.5% TIPA. The slight amount of bitterness balances out the sweetness, leaving behind something very, very drinkable.
Both of those flavors stay behind on the tongue as well. Sweet pineapple and a hint of green bitterness remain behind on the tongue, while the rest of the beer gets swept away. Syrupy in the right parts, it makes you want to keep drinking it, regardless of ABV. But don’t mistake this for a pale ale or IPA; it’s heavy around the edges, but not too much so. The sweetness and bitterness make sure of that.
And then it was all gone. I just kept sipping and pouring more until there was no more to pour. The fruit bouquet that accompanies Monster Cave doesn’t hinder its drinkability either. Hop Butcher has figured out how to make their bigger alcohol beers taste great right off the canning line (or with a day of age on it), so don’t hesitate to get both this and Riwakamania when they’re released (Riwakamania, an IPA, was even more drinkable). Sometimes the hype is unwarranted or not worth the effort but this time both are worth the hassle to snag. I’ll be there with you, checking Twitter and Instagram and hitting F5.
A big thanks to Jeremiah from Hop Butcher for the beer!