Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dundee Honey Brown Lager

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
Chad9976 (735) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 25, 2010
I’m always wary of beers that have gimmicky-sounding names. It’s like the manufacturers of such beers are trying to say, “Hey this beer has been artificially sweetened to distract you from that that nasty beer taste.” Well, you know what? Sometimes I like a beer that tastes like beer.

Ironically, I find this to be true with JW Dundee’s Honey Brown Lager. I’ve had a few times over the years but it’s never left an impression on me whatsoever. It’s not as famous a brew as Budweiser and yet it’s not nearly as tasty as Sam Adams. It’s just plain old beer.


It’s a good thing Honey Brown doesn’t pour like its namesake, otherwise it would quite an annoyance. In fact, its actual physical form is one of its most appealing aspects. It flows smoothly out of the bottle and forms a very small head which lingers until the last drop. There’s also quite a lot of bubble action happening that almost never stops. At least no one can accuse this beer of being flat.

Color-wise, it’s a very pretty shade of dark gold/light brown, although I’d say it leans more towards the gold side. Why they decided to use the word “brown” in the name is beyond me (it’s the most unappealing color in the spectrum – ask anyone who has taken Marketing 101). The aroma is fairly standard “beer” smell: not too sweet, but not too bitter.


I was quite surprised to find Honey Brown Lager such a thin-bodied, weak-tasting, watered-down beer. I was expecting it to taste like, well, honey! It’s rare to find a lager that is very sweet since sweet seasonings tend to lend themselves more to ales than lagers (whether artificial or natural).

Honey Brown Lager has a little bit of a bite to it, but because it’s so watery it’s not overwhelming. In fact, it’s quite a smooth beer to drink. It definitely is sweeter than the average lager but those expecting it to taste like honey-flavored beer will be disappointed. It’s just a cut above your run-of-the-mill lager in terms of taste, although just barely.


I’m actually a bit surprised this beer isn’t considered a light beer because it has the complexity and body of one. Actually, it’s not so ridiculously watered-down as Bud or Miller Lite, and yet it’s not nearly as full in body as the regular versions of those beers. It certainly is easy to drink and to drink quickly, but it leaves much to be desired.


Throughout a pint or a bottle of Honey Brown Lager you’ll feel some tingling on your tongue but that last swig is surprisingly harsh. The constant dancing of bubbles in the glass is entertaining but you’ll know why there was so much action at the finish of the beer. It’s not even a reason to dislike the beer, just an unexpected element.


I had never given much thought to JW Dundee’s Honey Brown Lager until now, but at least I know why. There just isn’t much to appreciate. It’s not nearly as sweet as I expected and it’s got too much of a bite at the end. However, it is definitely an easy-to-drink beer and not filling at all. Lightweights and novices are much more inclined to enjoy it than beer snobs (although I seem to be in the minority on this view). 
Grade: 4/10

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