Quick: think about a honey beer.
I know exactly what you thought of. The beer that has popped into your mind is a brown ale, easy on the hops, big on sweetness.
And that, dear reader, is the American honey beer. It’s easy to find recipes, and one was even released by the White House a few administrations ago. But it’s a distinctly American style of honey ale, as I recently found out when talking to Diego Setti, brewmaster at Prision Pals Brewing in Doral.
Apparently, honey beers are all the rage in Argentina, but stylistically they’re very different. A great example is Lady Bee (Blonde Ale, 4.8% ABV, 18 IBU), their version of a more Argentinean honey beer.
And if they had this brew in Argentina right now, it would apparently be flying off the shelves.
The first noticeable difference is that it’s a blonde ale. All the honey beers that I have tried domestically tend to be Browns or Ambers. It does have a honey golden color, and that’s crystal clear.
The aroma is where things get a little bit more skewed. Honey beers in Argentina tend to feature the honey in the production, rather than a late addition flavoring. As such, the result is very soft, very nuanced, not at all excessive. The honey aroma is there, but the malt character from the blonde ale is a little bit stronger. Opening the beer releases an aroma a little bit more like a brewery and less like an apiary.
The flavor is quite refreshing. It’s very biscuity and buoyant, nicely balanced with a nuanced earthy hop to it. The honey is present as a light fixture, bringing a subtle hint of character rather than an overload. It’s an interesting and novel way to use the honey as an additional player and not the focal point.
I can understand why this style is so popular in Argentina, and it will be interesting to see if this catches on a little bit more here in the United States.
Drink Florida Craft,
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