Monkless Belgian Ales: 20750 NE High Desert Ln, Bend
I drank: A little bit of everything, but I think my favorite was The Trinity Belgian Tripel, super flavorful but still very approachable.
This was my first time going to Monkless and only my second time having any of their beer, so I was very excited for the experience and it paid off! The passion behind this brewery is evident in everything that is dine and the pride they take in staying true to form. You aren’t going to find an IPA here, what you will find are some of the most delicious Belgian styles anywhere. Oh you don’t like Belgians? Never had one? Trust me, these folks will teach you how to appreciate the style and certainly have something for every palate.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the owners, Todd and Robin, just a little while before they opened for the day. Robin wasn’t about to have me only tasting one beer, so she set me up with the whole lineup and excellent descriptions to help guide my way. Once I was settled in with my wealth of options she filled me in on the story behind Monkless. I have to start with the name because I love their explanation. It simply is that Belgian/Abbey style beers were traditionally brewed by monks, and they just don’t have any, therefore they are Monkless!
Todd, Robins’ husband and the head brewer, is a former chemist (always trust beer made by a chemist) and had to travel often for a previous position. One of the places he spent time? Belgium. His love of Belgian styles was born by spending time there and relying on locals to show him where and what to drink. Obviously things went pretty well as Todd fell for the styles and brought them back with him after years of going back and forth.
Monkless didn’t really get its start until 2014 when Todd finally decided to turn his passion into a reality and took a big leap to start the brewery. Since then, they have been perfecting the styles and working on their distribution and expansion. At this point, they are distributing throughout Central Oregon and making a good push into the Portland market. They also hold small distribution chains in New York and Wisconsin. With ever changing tastes and styles, I think they are set up to really hit it hard this summer for the people that want a break from what has become normal (color me interested).
Along with working on expanding their distribution, the crew is also looking for a new space to set up a tasting room which will allow more space at the brewery and more space for customers. There isn’t a location i place yet, but the hope is to have something set and running during the summer. The current tap room is located inside the brewery and is a really fun spot that lets people really be part of the brewing experience. Plus they have really fun games and twinkle lights for those who are easily distracted…
While the planned expansion is very exciting, I’m really looking forward to a special release they have coming up very soon. It will be called “Curtain Closer” and is a Belgian Quad with cocoa nibs and raspberry puree. According to Todd it should hit at around 12% and is set to release near the end of March. Keep your eyes on their social media accounts because this one is going to be limited! There will be some cans, mostly being distributed to the market as well as kegs that will go to market and be on tap at the brewery.
I highly suggest that you get out to the brewery before they open a new tap room if you want to get the full experience! The close proximity really gives us an opportunity to see the passion and pride that goes into all the brews, plus you might just get a quick tour.
Also, plan on bringing some bottles and cans home because you will want to try more. They can a few select brews and offer a nice line of cork and cage bottles that are conditioned nicely. Their other merchandise follows the theme very well and will have you looking like the Belgian monk you will be after spending time at Monkless!
Go here for:
the small, close feel
to take a break from your normal styles
the opportunity to learn more about an under-appreciated style
I really want to thank Todd and Robin for being such generous hosts and taking time out of their busy day to show me around and tell their story. This brewery is going places and I am very excited to see where they end up! Take some time to go check out Monkless as soon as possible, it’s well worth it.