“ Brand: Wychwood Brewery / 5.0% ABV / Type: Ale „
These were on 2 for £3 at Co-op last week, so I thought I'd give them a try.
It's strong for an ale but the smooth flavour means you can drink it very easily, so be careful.
There's just enough of a hint of slightly lemony honey for it to go down very easily, and it doesn't overpower the classic malty beery taste that is the number one danger for this type of beer. It's very smooth, but I wouldn't recommend chilling them. The first one I chilled was fine but I had this sort of cold feeling just sitting on my stomach for about twenty minutes. I put this down to me not knowing much about this type of beer. I had the other one when it was at normal room(ish) temperature and it was much better. It's quite pale and not too heavy, so you can drink a couple of bottles without feeling bloated.
I know I'm a girl but I do love real ales. And I especially love the brews which come from the wonderful Witney based Wychwood brewery. I was first introduced to them by my ex boyfriend who loved Hobgoblin but he always applied The Pub Landlord's rules of "white wine/fruit based drink for the lady" and so I was never allowed to try it. But I loved the bottles and the label design and so one of the very first things I did when we split up was procure myself a bottle of Hobgoblin and from that day I have been hooked.
One thing with Wychwood that I particularly like is that they have seasonal beers (oh and some wonderful named beers too - I am still looking to try the Dogs Bollocks!) - something which I think is quite important as it can be so boring supping the same offering day in day out. And this year as I was looking at the supermarket I saw a bottle that I hadn't seen before and that was of Wychwood BeeWyched. Not only did it look very tempting it also had a fairtrade label on it and I was now even more intrigued. So I put a few bottles in the basket and went home knowing that we had a film to watch in the evening and so I would be able to sit back and enjoy my new discovery.
So what is it like?
Well it comes in a 500ml bottle (and available in cask seasonally) which is brown glass with embossed witches on brooms which is Wychwood's trademark around the shoulder of the bottle. Around the bottom of the bottle the word Wychwood is embossed and on the neck there is a gold label with the fairtrade symbol. The black cap has a gold witch on a broom stick with wychwood brewery on it.
The label itself is in brown, gold, cream and orange with the picture of a bee and the name of the beer Bee Wyched in red writing. Underneath it says honey'd ale as the name of the beer would suggest. It says it is brewed with fairtrade honey (the sugar is also fairtrade), English Challenger Hops & finest pale malt. It is also 5.0%ABV.
On the back it has a description of the beer from the Head Brewer at Wychwood Jeremy Moss and also states that it contains a minimum of 23% fairtrade certified ingredients. It says it contains Barley and Malt and there are 2.5 UK units in a 500ml bottle.
Price wise it is usually £1.69 for a 500ml bottle (although it has 25% off it in Sainsburys at the moment).
Going on to www.wychwood.co.uk it says where the fairtrade products are from - the honey is from Chile and the sugar is from Malawi. It may be fairtrade but I guess not the best for the environment if the ingredients are shipped in from that far afield!
So to pouring the beer. What you have is a pale amber (they say it's golden but not on my colour chart it isn't!) beer with a loose small head which disappears quite quickly as the slight fizz from the beer eats into it. It isn't lager fizzy but there is a pleasant tingling sensation on the tongue when you first take a sip.
So to the aromas. Well apart from the hops you get a hint of rich honey and a sweet and delicate floral/citrus aroma. It says on the back that you should get dried fruits but I am struggling on that one. Overall though the aroma is lovely and inviting so let's get on to the important bit - the taste!
The taste isn't quite what you would expect for a beer of this colour. You might expect something quite rich and smooth but it is incredibly light. I wouldn't say refreshing in lager terms but it doesn't seem like it will be a heavy brew. It is very smooth in the mouth and quite well rounded initially. It has a bitterwseet touch with lovely malty flavours and a hint of honey to start with and then it all goes a bit wrong for me. It has a really bitter aftertaste - slightly acidic (which would probably be the grapefuit you are supposed to get) but then it also tastes metallic. After a few minutes you still have the taste in your mouth but you start getting a bit more of the honey again. I would rather have got the honey in the initial aftertaste though because as it is you have to endure something which isn't overly pleasant before you get something nice or you have to knock it back to stop the aftertaste from kicking in. This really isn't an ideal way to drink this kind of ale so consequent mouthfuls are tainted by the metallic aftertaste. Another thing that I observed was that the first glass I poured (I drink it out of half pint glasses) was ok but come the second glass which I poured half an hour later much of the nice initial taste had gone as well.
It's a real shame as well because I normally really enjoy Wychwood beers and this was a bit of a let down. I still managed to finish the bottle but that was enough. For me it just didn't quite work as the bitterness totally outweighed the sweetness that I hoped the honey would bring. It's not that it's a bad drink but I was just hoping for rather more and compared to other honey'd ales and beers brewed by Wychwood this isn't their best. I wouldn't say don't try this because everyone gets something different (my husband quite likes it) when they are drinking ale but I have to be honest and say there are probably better ales that you can try before this one.
Buzzing with flavour this pale golden lightly honey'd ale has a delicate floral aroma and hints of citrus and dried fruit followed by the full bittersweet flavours of malt, honey and grapefruit. Brewed using Chilean Fairtrade honey and Fairtrade sugars from Malawi alongside English pale ale malts and Challenger hops, BeeWyched is our first Fair Trade beer.