Drink: Victory White Monkey

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Remember when wine became popular enough to be "the new beer"?

And then it flipped when craft beer became "the new wine"?

It was inevitable the two would collide someday into one crazy fermented creature, and now we have it, an all-out "Bine" Revolution with everyone from Sonoma (Russian River) to Portland, Maine, (Allagash) aging beer in wine barrels.

Victory is the latest to go grape guns on their brews, with the recent limited release of White Monkey, their popular Golden Monkey tripel aged three months in used chardonnay casks from Wente Vineyards.

It's complex, if not exactly subtle, but strikingly transformed by the wine-soaked oak. The beer's yeasty spices step forward as the tripel's sweetness dries out from the wood, which in turn adds a long mid-layer of juicy butterscotch before returning to a hoppy-fizz, beer-like finish. Better than the original Monkey?

Call it different - and fun.

- Craig LaBan
Victory White Monkey, $10.75 per 750 ml bottle, the Bottle Shop at Local 44, 4333 Spruce St.