Black Sheep Brewery Monty Python’s Holy grAIL

April 20, 2011

“Owl Stretching Time.” That was, at one time, one of the names being considered as a title for a new tv show. Other options the writers of the show tossed around were “Vaseline Review” and “A Bucket, a Horse and a Spoon.” After much consideration they decided upon something much less silly and stuck with Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Actually, the Pythons were stuck with the name after they had told the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) of it but weren’t yet 100% committed. The BBC had to run something in their ads for their new show and told them, basically, we’ve decided for you.

Comprised of members of The Oxford Revue and Cambridge’s Footlights comedy troupes, the five members of Monty Python came together in 1969 after the BBC noticed their various efforts on shows like “The Frost Report” and “Do Not Adjust Your Set.” With absurdist humor, historical referencing, cross-dressing and stream-of-consciousness animation, the Pythons quickly became as popular as the Beatles (with whom they were friends).

One would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never seen John Cleese berate the pet store owner who sold him the dead parrot or Michael Palin singing the Lumberjack Song. The Pythons’ wealth of humor, intelligence and savvy ensured that they created a product that was so vastly different than anything else on tv at the time and their trailblazing efforts cemented the images into our memories. Their popularity endured after the show’s end in 1974 so they decided to take nonsense to the next level and start making movies.

Their first movie was simply old show sketch material re-shot on film. And while their third and fourth movies are brilliant examples of their work, their second one, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” is the inspiration for today’s beer. Holy Ail is a clear copper ale with a thin head but abundant carbonation. Classic British ale nose full of biscuit, grass and slight hop spiciness is present in this. No real hoppiness noticeable in the flavor giving it an almost lager-ish quality. The malts are the real star of this beer… grassy and grainy with caramel and a lingering honey flavor in the aftertaste. All this flavor and a low 4.7% alcohol content makes for a highly drinkable beer.

And now for something completely different. It’s not even a British beer; it’s made in New York. Oops, drank my ale too fast. This beer is no more, it has ceased to be.