Sunday, December 12, 2010
Banana Bread Beer for Brunch
I've got a Christmas party to go to tonight, and I've got a feeling it's going to be alcohol-free. And even if it's not I don't think a good guest sits in the corner sipping and sniffing beers with his eyes closed, wishing he had a better nose and scribbling down his rambling, barely cohesive thoughts on the beverage he's supposed to be enjoying. But since I don't want to get behind again on my reviews, just for y'all, I'm going to make the ultimate sacrifice -- I am going to have beer for brunch.
It's okay, don't worry, this stuff is healthy - made with real bananas, which is good (potassium and some other healthy junk) and they're fair trade bananas, so it's good for your karma too. (It also says in the fine print says "banana flavor added" so that's a little less good.)
From the label: "Tempting banoffee aromas (banoffee? what is that? some kind of banana coffee, what have I got myself into? Hang on a minute, I gotta Google that -- oh well, that's okay, according to Wikipedia Banoffee is " is an English pastry based dessert made from bananas, cream, toffee from boiled condensed milk (or dulce de leche), either on a pastry base or one made from crumbled biscuits and butter. Some versions of the recipe also include chocolate and/or coffee. Its name is a portmanteau constructed from the words "banana" and "toffee" That sounds delicious.) and flavors are balanced by the rich silkiness of a masterful malt bland and the peppery spice of the freshest, ripest hops. (That sounds good, I like balance in my beers.) I also learned that "long ago, ale was known as "liquid bread," back in the good old days when you could literally drink a toast. Ha ha.
This is our first import; it's from Wells and Young Brewery Company in Bedford, UK. I picked it up at Total Wine for $4.99 (minus a dollar, I had a coupon.) It's ABV is 5.2%. And it's by request for Lisa the Librarian.
Enough preliminaries. Bring on the bananas.
APPEARANCE: Pours a nice copper color, with a thin head that lingers and leaves lace. Nice effervescence.
AROMA: Not surprisingly, it smells like bananas. Not overwhelmingly but definitely. Mild spice aroma too, but since it's not cinnamon I can't identify it.
TASTE: Not nearly as sweet as I'd been thinking it might be. You get hit with banana as soon as it hits your lips, but it's not cloying as some fruit beers can be, and by the time it finishes its trek through your mouth you finish with a pleasant mild hop tingle. So the label didn't lie. This beer is nicely balanced.
(Update: If you burp afterward the taste is all banana.)
MOUTHFEEL: Honestly, I am having a hard time differentiating mouthfeel and taste. It feels wet and fruity (no, that's taste) and bubbly.
DRINKABILITY: Very smooth, goes down easy. Unlike a lot of fruit ales, I wouldn't mind having more than one. Like most fruit ales, I can see how this would be even better in the summertime.
Now I just wish I had a banoffee for dessert.