Monday, September 17, 2007
Beer Review: Wells Banana Bread Beer
I saw this little baby in the packy as I was in the midst of buying a six pack of Spaten Oktoberfest and looking for another single of something cool to try, preferably an Oktoberfest or pumpkin flavored beer (I love these two styles of beer, read my ramblings about them here). Alas, there weren't any of these two options available in singles, but I saw this Banana Bread Beer sitting on the shelf. Banana Bread beer? WTF? I'd seen beers flavored with many different fruits before: pumpkin, apricot, rasbperry, orange, but banana? This was a first for me. As I like to try new and unique beers, I purchased this exotic bottle of suds. Would this strange concotion hold up under the taste test or would this be another over the top excuse for a beer like Magic Hat's #9?
This beer pours an orangey brown color, with minimal carbonation. A very strong sweetly banana aroma emanates from the glass. The initial taste is of a regular ale, somewhat crisp with minimal hops/malt background. The sweet banana taste comes out after the initial ale flavor. The banana is not sweet like a candy but is still pretty strong. There is no overwhelming fruit flavor like a #9; it is more subtle, closer to a Dogfish Head Aprihop (but banana instead of apricots) and not as noticeable. The beer is overall pretty mild without a ton of character except the banana. Overall this beer is pretty anonymous aside from the banana, although it had some maltiness, with minimal hops shining through.
Contrary to the name, I do not taste banana bread in this beer. It is not spicy like a banana bread (nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, etc.) like a good pumpkin beer. The banana flavor tastes fake; like it is simply banana flavoring and not real bananas. According to their website, Wells claims they use real fair trade bananas in the beer, but it certainly does not taste that way. Maybe they use a few bananas per batch, and the rest of the flavor is from artificial flavoring; it definitely tastes that way.
I warmed up to the beer as I drank more of it; the banana flavor got more subtle and the malty characters of the beer came out to shine more. This late showing couldn't save the beer for me. This beer was not bad, but unlike many other fruit beers, the banana did not seem to work here.
Overall rating 2 beer bottles out of 4.