Review #2: What the Buzz is About

A crash-course on the style I’m reviewing:

A braggot is mead (honey wine) and herbs, mixed with ale (top-fermenting beer, as opposed to lager).  Both aspects of the drink should be apparent in the overall makeup.  There is a variety and leeway for style expectations.  This is actually a very old style of beer, dating back to the times of Chaucer.  Maybe he drank some as he penned his classic Canterbury Tales.

On the docket:  Fegley’s Venomous, Imperial Honey Ale

Poured into a Lucifer brand snifter.

Aroma:  Gentle honey and malt greet the nose.  The malt seems to be a medium, caramel-like roast.  There is just a hint of alcohol, and for good reason- the abv clocks in at 9%.  The hop presence is either muted, or integrated so well into the beer that it works in harmony- it doesn’t stick out.

Sight:  A dark amber, somewhat translucent.  Brown and soft violet highlights.  A thumbnail-high cap rises when poured, then descends to a small, persisting ring of off-white foam.  Tiny bubbles make their way to the top from the base of the glass.

Taste:  The mouth first encounters the malty sweetness and the handiwork of the little busy Apis (Latin for bee).  One may detect a slight floral note and maybe a slight medicinal one as well.  Images of molasses, bread, chocolate, and raisins dance through the mind’s eye.  It finishes with a slightly hoppy, slightly bitter note- not like a high IBU type of IPA, but just bitter enough.  As it warms, the alcohol is more apparent, but not in a bad way.  It sort of tastes like if Bärenjäger had a baby with an English brown ale or pale ale.  Neat.

Feel:  Medium+ or medium-full body, silky, smooth, filling.  It coats the tongue nicely.  There is a nice tingle on the tongue, but certainly not as carbonated as a Belgian Trippel, nor would I consider it “still.”

Overall:  I think my Bärenjäger meets English Ale comparison is accurate.  There is a bit of variety within this style of beer, and this one certainly retains feelings of both mead and beer.  In my vast beer-tasting experience, I’ve had a total of (now) three braggots.  This one is my favorite.  Great to sip on slowly.  Well done, Allentown Brew Works.  Originally released in October of 2014, I may have consumed an aged bottle.  It would explain why I thought the flavors worth smooth and blended.  Newer bottles (if they exist) might showcase their features a bit more distinctly.

Suggested food pairing:  barbecued beef, pork, or a gamey meat with rich sauce to match intensity.  Buttery or pungent cheese (my vote would be Danish bleu).  Great as dessert, one its own.

A:  3.75  S:  3.75  T:  4.25  F:  4  O:  4