Critica de Cerveza – Buller’s Honey Brew
I’ve been in Buenos Aires for just about a week now and besides being amazed at how cheap the beer is (think $2.50 at a restaurant… for a liter!), I’ve been a bit disappointed at the general beer scene. So when I stumbled upon a real brewery, it was easy to see past the cheesy Americanisms and take the chance to have some real, good beer. It certainly wasn’t the best beer the world has to offer, but after wine and the Argentine equivalent of Bud for a week it was a nice change of pace.
Buller’s was the name of the brewery, and they had a nice small selection of their own beers that each offered something a bit different. The light lager was essentially a cheap beer plus, the hefeweissen threw more banana into a beer than I’ve ever seen, the IPA didn’t quite live up to the bitterness promised by the name, and the stout bested Guiness, but we’ve talked about that in our overrated column. Most interesting to me was their Honey Brew, a beer with a few layers that seemed to be their calling card.
The Honey Brew name evoked all sorts of memories of Dundee’s Honey Brown, which I find a bit too sweet and syrupy to love. Nonetheless, it was worth a try and actually proved quite different than its American counterpart. The Honey Brew poured a light but rich brown. The color was nothing special, except that it wasn’t completely transparent like every other beer I’d seen here. The aroma was a bit more interesting. One could tell very quickly that this was not just another ale, but rather a beer with a little character. As expected, there was some sweetness from the honey, but that was well blended with a balance of other flavors. I couldn’t tell exactly what those were at the moment, so on to the tasting.
The first sip was surprising in that honey was not the first taste to hit the tongue. Instead, the initial flavor was a bit like what one would expect from a brown ale. The honey was not far behind, but like in the smell it came as an equal with the brown flavor rather than sweeping through with the syrupy weight that I believe hurts Dundee’s. Instead of feeling like I was drinking an intense honey beer, the Honey Brew was more of a generally good beer that was flavored with honey. This sentiment was only confirmed with the finish. The honey flavor all but disappeared, leaving a crisp, very slightly bitter finish that was refreshing and helped one move on to the next sip or bite of food with ease.
In providing a general assessment, the Honey Brew was probably worth two hops of the possible three. It was an interesting beer for anyone, but especially for those who like sweeter beers. If we were going on Argentine standards it would get an extra bump to a 3/3 because the competition is so weak. But alas we will stay true to our American values, and tastes, and not give this beer any more credit than it deserves just because it’s competing in the beer world’s equivalent of the NL… or AAA… pretty much the same thing.