BNL Strong Beer — Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

*** Update***

On release, this beer was called “BNL Imperial Stout”.  I’ve left the name in the title for continuity, but it’s the same beer.

I grew up in Scarborough, which probably isn’t as bad as you think if you’re not from Scarborough too.  But the reality is, growing up there, we didn’t have a heap of people to look up too.  I can’t think of any sports figures that I knew of that were Scarboroughites.  But we did have The Barenaked Ladies.  I can remember while in grade six, we had times of singing as a class, and my teacher was a fan.  She had The Yellow Tape, and played a song we all found quite funny, so we took to singing it.  That was, of course, If I Had A Million Dollars.  Gordon was the second record I ever bought with my own money (the first was, honestly, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em.  I told you I was from Scarbrough).  I dug out my mum’s old 3/4 classical guitar and started strumming, because I wanted to be able to play Crazy (I still can’t…). We were blown away that, here were these guys, from Scarborough, who went to the same band camp we would go to, who hung out in the same neighbourhoods as us, who went on Speaker’s Corner! And they were famous.  As I’ve grown and my understanding of what a hero is — and how they act — has changed, I’ve continued to me a huge fan of the band, and Ed in particular. So when I saw the news from Barrie, that The Barenaked Ladies were up at Flying Monkeys, making a batch of beer, I seriously considered hopping in the car and heading up the 400.  BNL Strong Beer is an Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout, weighing-in at 10% and with a whole lot of cocoa nibs in it.  I’m so happy to have gotten this bottle for review!

BNL Strong Beer — Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

BNL Strong Beer — Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery

From a 750ml bottle, BNL Strong Beer pours a solid opaque black.  A frothy 2″ mocha head drops to a dense layer of foam that left a lot of lace on the glass.  Aroma is huge cocoa.  Rich, chocolatey with a touch of dark fruits.  There is also a hint of rum or molasses.  I’m not really getting any hops in the nose, but I really don’t mind.  This smells amazing.  Taste is big on cocoa too, but now there is espresso and smoke in the profile as well.  There is a lovely milky taste, that, of course, gives this a serious chocolate milk feel.  Except it’s beer.  I’m also getting that touch of dark fruits again, which I’m pretty sure is the cocoa.  It sort of reminds me of dried cranberries, but it’s very very subtle.  As the beer warms a bit, there is also a touch of vanilla, though that could be psychological, it just smacks of sweet rich dessert.  I’m still not really getting any hops, but the cocoa seems to be tagging-in for it.  There is plenty of dry powdery bitterness from the cocoa nibs.  Perhaps there is a good amount of hops too, adding to the feel of bitterness, but the chocolate is so big and complex it takes centre stage.  The mouthfeel is just sexy and smooth.  Creamy and heavy bodied.  The beer has a fairly low carbonation, which does lighten the weight a touch, but it is nearly like sipping a liqueur.  It’s weight and bitterness also nicely hides the fact that you are drinking a 10% imperial stout.  There is no heat from the alcohol, just rich smooth awesomeness.  The linger manages to be both creamy and rich, yet dry and bitter.  A lovely beer, perfect for sharing, and one of the better imperial stouts I’ve had.  So so so good.

This beer is crazy.

Cheers to Flying Monkeys and the Barenaked Ladies!

Buy This Beer

Coming soon to the LCBO, it’s product number is 318063, but it’s not on the shelves yet. I presume they will also have it available at the brewery store in Barrie.  Not sure if it will be out on keg/cask, but if there’s pins or firkins of it, I call dibs for Castro’s Lounge!

Drink It With

Well, obviously dessert.  Or, even better, after dessert.  Or maybe just make it dessert.  Okay, here’s what you do: Get the best vanilla ice cream you can find.  Make it, go to Ed’s (if you’re a blessed east-ender) or whatever.  Okay, scoop out some into a bowl.  Pour a good glug or two (that is a very specific term of measurement) over the ice cream, then pour the rest into a glass.  Don’t bother with a float, just use a few tablespoons worth to drench the ice cream, then sit back with St Peter, and enjoy the view from heaven.  For this beer, I don’t really have a great cheese recommendation, except maybe cream cheese.  Especially if it’s been baked into a cheesecake, and you use that instead of ice cream as the recipient of glug or two.

About The Brewery


We’re on a crusade to figure out new ways to cram more Hops into our Beers, but still keep ’em this side of palatable (which is of course relative).

We’re Dry-Hopping; we’re circulating them in a big hop filter called our Hoppapotamus; we’re mixing, steeping, combining, cloning, and performing ancient rituals with Hops. To us, Creative-Hopping is to the Brewer as Root-Working is to the Voodoo Mambo; it’s another rung of that ladder to the Beyond.

Company Overview

The Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery is an independent, locally-owned, craft brewery in Barrie leading Ontario’s Craft Beer Revolution. We focus on supporting beer lovers who are looking locally for new and interesting beers. To the Flying Monkeys, brewing straight, normal beers is . . . well, it’s weird. We started a microbrewery so we could brew the unique, fresh beers we always wanted to find right here in Ontario.


Our Philosophy– Keep the Microbrewery Revolution going! There’s always room for more, fresh, local brews in the “Beerscape” of Ontario. We brew our beers to taste, not necessarily to style, giving plenty of respect to the ever-changing boundaries of the craft brewhouse.

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