It’s Not What You Might Think
Honey-based or flavored alcoholic beverages may conjure images of mead or The Archies—fictional and fulsome—singing those saccharine lyrics that replay in your head as mechanically as the contortions of a fly struggling to liberate itself from the paper to which it is stuck: “Sugar, ah, honey, honey, you are my candy girl….” Enough of this, please!
Honey can have its serious side, too, of course. Here is what The Oxford Companion to Beer has to say about it: “Used in beer, honey adds a distinctive sweetness and roundness, although in excess it can be perceived as rather cloying on the palate.” Maruichi Bakushu Honey Ale is from Yamanashi, which is, as our readers know well, the preeminent prefecture of Japan with respect to winemaking. The brew is 5.5% abv and, as might be expected, is honey colored. The unmistakable fragrance of hops is pronounced. Honey is barely perceptible on the nose, but it can be discerned. The same can be said of the palate. The hops dominate the honey, as we feel they should. Honey’s supporting role here is to round things out. The effervescence is pleasant, and the finish is moderately long. The honey comes from the Japanese honey bee, a species that produces a lot less honey than your standard honey bee.
It’s not likely that one bottle will inspire you to do the waggle dance, but perhaps after the second or third, you will feel compelled to waggle a thank-you message to our insect friends.
Recommendation level (out of five stars):
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