Well's Banana Bread Beer
Review Date 9/21/2007 Last Updated 1/19/2017
You know, wine lovers may get all the respect, but beer
lovers have all the fun. I firmly believe that. Tell someone your hobby is
sampling different wines and you’re a connoisseur. Tell them you like to try
different beers, and you’re a drunk.
But that’s OK, because like I said, beer people have more fun. Because we get to put so many different things in our beer. Just ask the folks at the Charles Wells brewery in Bedford, England. One day while monkeying around they decided to brew a beer with, of all things, bananas. The result: Wells Banana Bread Ale. When was the last time you saw banana bread wine?
Actually, beer and bananas are as natural a pairing as bananas and bread, since the chewy, bready flavors of barley malt can very nicely emulate the flavors of a freshly baked loaf. The Wells brewery claims they use crushed crystal malt rather than ground to bring out “the natural banana character”. I’m not so sure about that myself, but fortunately they do use real bananas as well.
English Challenger and Goldings hops are employed, and the brewery has its own well from which “hard” water, rich in mineral salts is procured. Such water is prized for the body it can lend to the finished beer; brews from Burton, England (Bass Ale ) and Pilsen, Czech Republic (Pilsner Urquell) are prime examples of what a difference water can make in beer. The body of Wells Banana Bread is not as exemplary of this rule as those beers are however.
Well’s Banana Bread Beer pours to a bright amber color with a light creamy head and a freshly-peeled banana nose. Upon sipping, the body struck me as a tad thin, but there is just enough light caramel from the crystal malt to serve as the “bread” in this banana bread ale. Some buttery yeast character is appropriate; after all, butter goes in your bread as well
And then there’s the banana, which pokes its head through early and is very much present in flavor and aroma right on into the finish. Do you like walnuts in your banana bread? A touch of nutty malt character provides this if you do.
A subtle kiss of grassy hops balance in the finish, though the body seems just a little thin again here as well. But overall this is an intriguing little beer, which nicely suggests a slice of banana bread. A little more body would certainly be welcome, but its still enjoyable all the same.
Brownie points for the brown glass bottle. At $3.99 for a half liter bottle, this is a good deal, and a beer well worth trying.
Update 1/19/2017: Wells Banana Bread on tap at Taco Mac! Dessert is served. Love the fruity estery Banana in the nose, the nutty bready malts, the deep seated fruit in the palate. $6.25 is a little steep for an 11-ounce glass, but this is an imported specialty beer after all.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.