Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Captain Weirdbeer Presents: Combined Harvest Multi-grain Ale and Banana Bread Beer

Tonight I'm sampling two somewhat peculiar beers: Bateman's Combined Harvest Multigrain ale and Wells and Young's Banana Bread Beer.

Ever taste a bready, malty brew and think, "I wish this had bananas in it!" Yeah, me neither, but someone did and the idea actually sounds pretty good to me. This ale pours dark orange with a crisp, off-white head. First whiff is spot on: banana bread for sure. First sip...nooooo! Very bitter, but no flavor from hop or yeast that I can discern. I can't taste any banana at this point, and the malty, breadiness is not present to the degree that I'd have liked. Bummer. Sometimes the perceived hop bite of a beer can be exaggerated by high carbonation, so in this case I took a fork and beat some of the carbonation out of it. Another taste...hmmm. Still a bummer, unfortunately. The malt is a little more discernible, but still masked by a bitterness that seems a little harsh and out of balance. I find myself saying to Irene, "Why did they ruin this beer?" Good points: the aroma of this beer is beautiful warm bananas and caramel-maltiness. Bad points: the hop bitterness kills any nice banana bread flavor that might have been present. This one begs for a homebrew makeover...I've already begun to design the recipe!

The second brew is peculiar only in the fact that several grains are used together. Most beer is made from malted barley. Wheat beers are normally around 50/50 malted barley and wheat. In addition, you can find the odd brew here and there that utilizes rye or oats to add a touch of flavor and mouthfeel. Batemans Combined Harvest, however, proudly uses all four grains!

This beer pours a golden hue with a nice white head that laces the top of the glass with each sip. The aroma is English hops and a little whiff of malt. Though successive sips reveal a bit more complexity, the overall impression of this ale is English hops and light body. I don't detect much in the way of graininess or malt flavor (though I'm no pro beer taster, of course). This would be a nice as a cool quaff on the patio in summer.

So I suppose that probably wasn't a great use of $10, but at least I had an experience of these flavors. A huge part of enjoying beer lies in the experience of many flavors and aromas. You learn to enjoy some, and learn that you don't enjoy others.


  1. Oh, Alex, I can't wait to try your take on the Banana Bread beer. Sounds like it could be really amazing!

    Afterwards, can you try pumpkin bread and cinnamon bread too?

  2. hahaha. I could have a whole line of bakery rip-off beers!