For years now we’ve tried various attempts at brewers recreating the famed “chocolate orange” dessert in fermented form. Quite a few came close. Monday Night Entente Cordiale gets it right.
First of all, throw out everything you know about a barleywine. You won’t need that info here. Sure, Monday Night Entente Cordiale is a barleywine, or at least was – at one point in time. What is it now? A symphony of nuanced flavors that hide the 13% alcohol by volume perfectly.
“Every bit of this beer is intentional,” says Peter Kiley, Monday Night’s Head Brewer. “We didn’t just have some empty barrels and decide to throw something into them.”
As a kid, Kiley loved the Chocolate Orange candy, especially around Christmas. They are pretty big in England, plus the base beer being an English-style barleywine, the idea was already taking shape. Monday Night’s first barleywine appeared back in 2014, at the hands of the brewery’s creative (experimental) brewer, Josh Johnson. “It came out great,” Kiley says, but like everything else we are doing, it about finding the time to scale up the recipe and do it right.
Kiley stuck with thoughts of Chocolate Orange dancing in his head, and Johnson with his English-style barleywine, Monday Night Entente Cordiale was born.
Every addition to Entente plays into the stylistic weakness. Barleywines are big and boozy and hard to approach for some. Cognac barrels plus some fresh orange zest add a citrusy flavor to the big caramel notes of the base beer. The almost creamy, dessert-like flavor is thanks to whole cocoa nibs and vanilla beans Entente Cordiale was laid to rest for months on.
Kiley and Johnson absolutely nailed it. For years we’ve drank various beers inspired by the Chocolate Orange candy. Many come close. Monday Night achieved it in the most unlikely way, with the most unlikely style. No imperial stout or even English-style porter here. A barleywine that is high on the alcohol by volume but you wouldn’t know it, that tastes like a creamy, subtle mix of the chocolate orange candy or dare we say it – Grand Marnier.
All in all, that what you can expect from Monday Night’s new Garage facility. Creative, deliberate beers. “The Garage will be innately polarizing,” says Kiley. “People will most likely love it or hate it.”
Monday Night Entente Cordiale has limited availability in market now, on draft and 750-milliliter bottles.
About the name: Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on April 8, 1904 between the United Kingdom. Ireland and the French Third Republic which saw a significant improvement in Anglo-French relations.