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BeeWyched honeyed ale

by Nathaniel Tapley
(Beer Delegate, London, UK)

Beewitched Honeyed ale: leave my beer alone!

Beewitched Honeyed ale: leave my beer alone!

BeeWyched honeyed ale

I'm going to confess something up front: I don't really see the point of honeyed beers.

Just the concept seems odd. We don't make jam beers, chutney beers or marmalade beers – why do we make an exception for honey? As if the bees don't have enough on their plates...

I also tend to find them too sweet, too cloying and too smug. They wear their honey as if it's something special, rather than something you put on toast.

Frankly, if you want honey, be my guest – fill your mouth with it. Just leave my beer alone.

Which is why it was odd that I found myself drinking BeeWyched Honeyed ale, from the Wychwood Brewery, twice in one week.

The first time I had the cask version and found it so pleasant that I broke with tradition and tried a bottle of a honeyed beer. And was pleasantly surprised by that, too.

This is a warm beer (and the temperature of the cask did many more favours for it than the temperature of my fridge did), heavy with hops and honey, and yet it manages to avoid being either cloying or heavy. It is, and I was surprised to notice this, refreshing.

The brewery claim that it "has a delicate, floral aroma, hints of citrus and dried fruit, then the full, bittersweet flavours of malt, honey and grapefruit." Someone must have left most of that out of mine. There was certainly no grapefruit. What there was was a pleasant glass of beer, full but not fat.

Apparently, 23% of the contents of the beer (the honey and the sugar) are fairly traded, and the beer carries the FairTrade mark. So, not only can you relax with a lovely drink, you can ponder the lives of the third world farmers, enthralled by their brand new well, that you have made better by drinking it.

As that is bound to be how it works. You buy beer, schoolrooms spring up in villages across the world...

As long as you don't think about it too closely, it's not just the beer that can be smug.

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