My Fellow Inebriates,
For a bear, anything with “honey” on the label is an instant sell. My dad actually picked this beer out for me, which surprised me so much that my fur is still standing on end. He said since I was being pretty consistent about writing reviews, it was time I had something off the beaten path.
It’s true that bears love honey. My friend Scarybear claims that when he’s in the wild he sticks his paw right into any old hive he finds, pulls out globs of honey, and devours it bees and all.
(This is as stupid an image as I can conjure in my furry head, given that the Scarybear I know spends hours on the couch watching reruns of Stargate and begging his humans to order pizza.)
That aside, when beer and honey intersect, alcoholic bears get excited. The Tin Whistle Brewing Company, in business since 1995, specializes in English-style pale ales, and KILLER BEE Dark Honey Ale is crafted with four types of specialty honey.
Only I can’t taste honey in it. Swirled in a glass, KILLER BEE wafts cocoa and molasses up front, with toffee following. First sips are roasty, toasty, malty with chocolate predominating but not cloying. There’s almost a peatiness to it, an earthy, deep quality that hints of an Islay whisky. Think deep, sonorous tones if you’re into musical analogy.
KILLER BEE is almost stoutish but not quite. (It’s almost a lot of things, including honey-flavored.) While the mouthfeel is full, it’s surprisingly crisp. Initially the carbonation struck me as low, but a few sips convinced me that the Tin Whistle people really hit it on the money.
I am really freaking scared of killer bees, and I totally admire Tin Whistle for courting them so dangerously with this dark, intriguing offering. At 6% alcohol, KILLER BEE is boozy and warming—the perfect sipper while sitting on the couch watching TV. But the flavors are so dessert-like that one’s enough—you need to have something else ready to drink when you’re done with your KILLER BEE. I RECOMMEND it more as a curiosity than as a beer for pounding.