Interesting number, eight. You can actually play 8-ball, or Crazy Eights. In Taoist mythology there are Eight Immortals. In the late 1960s, Ford revolutionized car audio with the option of an 8-track tape player. You could’ve had a V8, but instead you got the eighth edition of Beer o’ The Week!
I have to admit that I approached Wells Banana Bread Beer with a little trepidation. Before I had seen the beer I assumed it to be a wheat beer (which would have been reasonably unusual coming from the U.K.), and that the name was reflective of a scent not uncommon in those beers. As it turns out, however, there is nothing wit, weiz or wheat about. It is a copper ale, brewed with bananas.
This knowledge did little to calm me.
I have tasted beers brewed with apricot, apple, blackberry, raspberry, acai berry, cherry, blueberry and pumpkin (as noted last week), as well as numerous other flavored beers. But not once did the notion of banana beer cross my mind. Luckily it did cross the mind of someone at the Wells and Youngs Brewing Company, who took it upon themselves to brew some. Good idea, as it turns out.
As mentioned the beer is copper hued, with a light, off-white head. In the scent you can detect some faint floral notes, but they are over-powered by what this beer is all about: banana bread. In terms of taste, the beer had more of a spicy hop profile than I would have expected, given the smell, but the banana notes are again the dominant flavor. This offering has a creamy texture and a medium weight. On the finish, not surprisingly, more banana but in a muted way. The ale leaves you with some lingering spice notes, a ginger or cinnamon sort of spiciness. The most impressive aspect of this beer is the manner in which the banana is used to compliment the brew itself. Surprisingly tasty, very well intergrated.
When all is said and done, a thoroughly enjoyable drink. And it is exactly as advertised: banana bread beer. In the best and most complimentary way.