Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beereview: Wells Banana Bread Beer

We were at the diner the other night and noticed an odd ale on the menu. Normally I'd associate novelty beers with the places that stock hundreds of bottles in the hopes that you'll pay $11 for one; this little gem was unassumingly placed near the middle of an above average but not noteworthy beer menu. We've reviewed some strange ones before from Lobster Ale, to Very Bad Elf  to the dreaded Chelada but never before have I tasted Banana Bread Beer.

Before diving into the review, let's talk a little about expectations.

Expectation 1: This beer will taste a little like banana bread.

Banana Bread belongs to a family of breads I'm going to name: "Take a healthy thing, cook it to death, and bury it in a pile of cinnamon and sugar"-bread. Lots of breads belong to this category, including (from disgusting to delicious): Fruit Cake, Carrot Cake, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Zucchini Bread, Cinnamon Loaf, Apple Bread, and Banana Bread. For a beer to taste like any of those things I'm expecting at minimum spices (like every Christmas Ale has) and some fruit flavoring.

Expectation 2: This beer will taste a little like beer.

This expectation should go without saying. If you're going to market something called Banana Bread Beer than it ought to taste like beer, not Mike's Hard Banana (...).

Put these two expectations together and what do you get? A Christmas Ale with slight banana flavoring which I would imagine tastes delicious. This beer fails on both counts, and here's why:

Beereview: Wells Banana Bread Beer

The first thing you will notice about this beer is that they have used shiny gold ink on the label lending it some degree of fanciness. The next thing you'll notice is the word BANANA in huge capital letters. If you're not sold yet, you're not going to be. This screams novelty beer which is generally a hit or miss proposition.

The label boldly proclaims the presence of  "Banoffee" flavoring, rich malts, and carefully selected hops along with fair trade bananas. After sampling this beer I have to disagree.

With a strong aroma of yellow Runts (kind of like older bananas, not fresh smelling,) this beer pours a light brown with no noticeable head.

Flavor-wise, this beer tastes exactly like plain banana chips soaked in Molsen Golden. There is no sweetness left and the beer is pure flavorless malt and sourness. In fact, Molsen Golden has a lot more flavor than whatever sub par ale they used in trying to pawn off terrible ale by adding (likely powdered) bananas. The beer tastes (as generous as the word "tastes" is in this case) almost exactly like Fuller’s London Pride Pale Ale.

So how did this beer stack up to my expectations? It completely let me down. If they are going to use the term "Banana Bread" it should have some sweetness and some spices. This beer is not good.

Have you tried this beer? Did I get a bad bunch (no pun intended)? Let me know in the comments below!

Update:
I usually check around the internet for similar reviews after I post mine. Usually they somewhat agree but in this case they really didn't. Either I had a weird batch or English people don't have the same taste buds as me. Oddly enough they must not have "Banana Bread" on the other side of the pond because they read it like "Banana AND Bread AND Beer." Maybe expectations influence how we taste things?

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed a glass of Well's Banana Bread beer, last month, while one of my favorite local watering holes had it on tap. In my party of 3, 2 of us chose this as the best of all that we tried that day, while the other guy had it as a close 2nd behind his favorite. I was disappointed last weekend when I found out that my little place isn't carrying it anymore. (Georgia, USA)

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