Sunday, January 30, 2011


Brewers will put just about anything into beer. I've had beer with hibiscus, coffee, pumpkin, blueberry, chocolate, vanilla, cherry... but bananas? I've had beers that have had definite undertones of banana flavour, but never one that claimed to be a banana beer. So I couldn't pass up this one when I spotted it in the liquor store.

Wells Banana Bread Beer is brewed in the UK, and the bottle boasts that "its ripe banana flavour, emphasised by a hint of bitterness, comes from the addition of real fair trade bananas." The link above tells us that this beer has even won a few awards. Big deal, says I -- how does it taste?

Well, it tastes like bananas, what do you expect? This is a lighter ale, which allows the sweetness of the fruit to come through. With a name like Banana Bread Beer, I might have expected something heavier, but the lightness certainly steers this towards dessert beer land. Out of the fridge and into the bottle, the first few sips are enjoyable. But things go weird after that.

Just as I would expected this beer to be heavier, I also would have expected it to get better with warming, and for more flavours to come out. Sadly, all that comes out is an increasing bitterness and acidity. Which, when you're dealing with 500 ml, makes trying to get through a full bottle a bit of a challenge. A smaller 330 ml bottle would have made it far more enjoyable.

That's often the thing with flavoured beers: less is more. Wells Banana Bread Beer -- in small, cold quantities -- is a pretty good thing. So if you're going to grab a bottle, make sure you have someone to share it with. Or just go for banana bread and a good stout.

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