Tasting the Wells Banana Bread Beer

I don’t know about you, but one of my fondest memories from childhood was waking up to my moms freshly baked banana bread. Oh my lord was it delicious. I would jog from Toronto 200km back to London for this stuff!

A while ago while snooping around on the Wells and Young’s website I realized that they made a Banana Bread Beer! These are the same guys that brought us the Double Chocolate Stout; so I had to go find this beer. But to my dismay, the LCBO had no interest in brining it in, and my recent missions to Premier Gourmet still left me empty handed (at least considering this beer).

My last trip to Ryan’s Party Store in Port Huron though left me smiling though, for I had in my car a nice shinny, well, maybe not shinny… But I had a bottle of this Banana Bread Beer ready for my mom’s homemade Banana Bread! I poured the Banana Bread Beer into a standard tulip glass trying to open the beer up and at the same time capture all of its aromatic potential. The pour was smooth and carbonated lifting an weak airy one one inch white head. The beer stood transparent golden mahogany with rich browns, amber bronze and copper colors shining through it all. The color was very nice, ripely what I would have hoped for out of a banana beer. However by now, the head was already gone. I would have enjoyed a nice thick creamy head for a beer of this sorts.

The nose was softly malty with an obvious scent of banana. Soft pale malts and biscuit show through with light spice characteristics, and soft hops. The banana is there, but honestly I am disappointed. I was hoping for a creamy rich pouring of warm gooey banana; this though is soft, slightly medicinal, and underwhelming. The touch of nutmeg and cinnamon is very nice.

Wells does describe it as their “traditional bitter with the subtle flavor of banana”. This leads me to believe that they have added banana to an existing beer – perhaps they should have redesigned it. However, I cannot accurately comment on the production methods of this beer, only the final product.

By now the head had completely disappeared leaving only a faint ring on the beer.The beer comes in to the tip of your tongue immediately with pale malts and a sweet touch of caramel. Quickly a light but obvious trace of banana glides over the sides of your tongue and cheeks. Spices like cinnamon and allspice are light on the palate giving way more to soft biscuit and soft malt.

The finish is dry and slightly sweet – also is a touch medicinal due to the seemingly artificial flavor of banana. I actually didn’t really enjoy this beer, and it definitely let me down. I really was excited for something warming, chewy and soft with luscious banana and dough flavors.

Maybe this is better in England, if so, it did not travel well. I bet Wells can do better, and I will be excited to see them try.

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