The very first beer our initial brewing team (Doug, Rob, and I) made together was Extra Special Monk. The recipe was finalized with Rob on the phone from Whitehorse and brewed in our pilot space when he joined us in Edmonton. Extra Special Monk (once known as ESM) is one of our more regular beers and hasn’t had any significant gaps in production. While we strive to rotate all of our beers there’s always been something special about the Monk that keeps it on tap.

Extra Special Monk nestled within a lovely hop wreath.

The name Extra Special Monk was directly inspired by Head Brewer Rob Monk. While brewing ESM on our pilot brewery we realized that the English malt and yeast in the recipe were quite similar to an ESB (Extra Special Bitter), but instead of English hops we used American hops (Mosaic and El Dorado) so it definitely wasn’t an ESB. Instead, we concluded it was an Extra Special Monk (ESM).

Doug and Rob working in the pilot brewery and deeply contemplating Extra Special Monk.

With Extra Special Monk Rob, Doug, and I had a very clear goal to make a beer with plenty of hop aroma and flavor, but without the usual bitterness you get from significant hop additions on an even schedule throughout the boil. We add a lot of Mosaic and El Dorado hops toward the end of the boil and the result is very bold tropical fruit (mango and guava), stonefruit (nectarine), and citrus flavor and aromas over a gentle malt background with only moderate bitterness.

Rob and Ian on a brew day reviewing the data.

That concludes the story of Extra Special Monk. However, after such contemplative pictures, it seems appropriate to add a couple more to better reflect that what happens when working with our Extra Special Monk.

Rob performing a feat of strength while brewing Extra Special Monk.
The brewing team contemplating the strategy going forward.
Typical festival attire.
Doing some sampling while wearing an official brewing headband.
Testing out some new merch.
Rob dressed up as an angry man in an anime movie. You don’t want to meet him when he’s angry!