I am not sure I understand the current mania for honey in ale. Sure, I like honey, and sure, sometimes it can be a good mix, but if you are so obsessed with honey that you need it in your beer, then drink mead: it is made from honey. As for me, I like richer, more complex, earthy flavors in my beverages. That being said, I also understand that we all have different tastes and preferences, and when I rate a beer, I always try to rate it within its genre. I also like to consider why people like it, even if I do not. That means that there are many beers that I do not personally like, which I can still call great beer, because I understand what makes them great, aside from my subjective preferences.
Twisted Pine Brewing Company was founded by well-known (in California) craft brewer, Gordon Knight, in 1995. At first, he only offered three brews, all three only on tap. These days, the company brews several beers, which are also available in bottle. Very soon after the company’s success (in late 1996), Mr. Knight sold it to a friend, Bob Baile, who also owned Peak to Peak Brewing Company. Mr. Baile merged the two breweries. Twisted Pine prides itself on open experimentation. It’s honey brown ale may be the result of just such an experiment. Twisted Pine Honey Brown Ale contains 5.3% ABV.
Bottle: The bottle reminds me of the helmets of the American football team, the Cleveland Browns: bland, boring, and slightly odd. It is a squat, brown-glass bottle with a brownish label, with yellow and brown lettering, and a small green pine tree logo. I cannot explain it, but it just seems rather inartistic to me. But just as you should not judge a book by its cover, you should also not judge a beer by its label.
Pour: The color is both brown and clear, if you can imagine that. I believe that mahogany is the best way to explain the color, with pure clarity. The head is khaki-tan, about two fingers thick, and dissipates very slowly, leaving medium to thick lacing.
Aroma: The expected aroma of roasted malt is there, with a very interesting element of roasted peanuts. I have to appreciate that. There is also a bouquet of dark chocolate and caramel.
Flavor: The aroma was promising, but the flavor was a bit disappointing. There is a definite sweetness to the flavor, but instead of honey, as the beer’s name promises, I detected light, milk chocolate. There is not much more to the flavor. The finish is ever-so-slightly bitter, but not enough to round out the one-dimensional sweetness.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is also a bit disappointing. It is medium-bodied at best, with a distinct thin feeling that I cannot shake. The finish feels too thin and astringent.
Structure: The structure is also one-dimensional. There is little balance, as the beer consists mainly of milk chocolate flavor, with a wimpy attempt at bitterness. This is not a beer that would stand up to aging, to say the least.
Food Pairing: This is a beer that would do well as a substitute for crappy American, mass-produced beer. After all, although I am not a huge fan of this beer, it is worlds better than, say, Budweiser. So I would pair it with typical American barbecue food, perhaps for a football game.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: