The microbrewery revolution was somewhat slow to reach the central United States. For many years, Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, MO seemed like my local craft brewery. That is changing rapidly now. In fact, my hometown of Fayetteville now has an Ale Trail with currently 6 active microbreweries along it and several other craft beer bars. As is often the case, a passion for homebrewing and the desire to turn this passion into a business led Jeff and Tricia Gill to open Tallgrass Brewing Company in 2007. Tallgrass is located 120 miles west of KC in Manhattan, Kansas. In 2010, Tallgrass switched from bottles to cans, and their beers can be found in 14 of the central states. Tallgrass brews 5 year-round beers with other seasonal selections. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Zombie Monkie is their fall seasonal. Zombie Monkie is a robust porter with a 6.2% ABV and 35 IBUs. Zombie Monkie blurs the lines between a porter and a stout and is perfect for slow-sipping on cool evenings. Zombie Monkie pours a magnificent black with a tan, creamy head. The head was such that I would have sworn by looking at it that it was from a nitro tap had I not known differently. Initially the caramel and dark candy sugar sweetness picked up by the nose belies the dark roasted malt obviously used. With deeper breathes, the presence of darker malts is discovered. When drinking, the medium body of this beer allows the flavors to settle on the tongue. Candy sugar sweetness is detected on the sides of the tongue while the front tastes dark cherry flavors. As you swallow, light notes of raisins are found on the middle to back of the tongue preceding a intertwining of dark fruit and dark candy sugar reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel or quad without the Belgian yeast aftertaste. Vanilla flavors arrive late before the dark malts shine giving a big roasted and somewhat smoky aftertaste. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Zombie Monkie is a wonderful porter tip-toeing the stout line. It would pair well with fall comfort foods such as a hearty beef stew or shepherd’s pie, but it also would go well with vanilla ice cream. Being a beer whose flavor profile really opens up as it warms, this is perfect for taking along for cool weather bikepacking. Zombie Monkie is available in a 4-pack of 16 oz bag-friendly cans for around $9. Bikepacker Friendly –  9/10 Aroma – 8/10 Flavor – 8/10 Style Appropriateness – 7/10

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