During my frequent beelines to the Fat Tug IPA and other craft beers at the Whitehorse Liquor Store, my eyes catch a glimpse of the solitary bottles of Fuller’s Organic Honey Dew beer, but then they move on.
I’m not against honey or Fuller’s, but I do remember trying this beer years ago and deciding it wasn’t worth wasting my allotted beer calories on, especially for a hophead like myself. But that was years ago and I’m willing to give it another chance.
The beer comes in a sexy bottle with a big fat bee on the label. It is embossed with the words “est. 1845, Independent Family Brewers.”
Yes. Yes. Fuller’s Brewery avoided the temptation of getting sucked up by a mega-brewing company, and continues to independently brew a full suite of beers in West London.
The brewery’s Honey Dew is the best selling organic beer in the United Kingdom. The taste is mildly sweet with a sumptuous mouthfeel and a slightly bitter bite I didn’t expect. It has a sweet aroma, with light hopping and sulphur notes, often caused by lager yeast. This makes it is reminiscent of a sweet honey European pilsner rather than ale.
And it is actually quite pleasant. I would drink it over a wide selection of macro-brewed swill any day.
Honey Dew is brewed with malt, hops, water and yeast. I’m not sure if it’s just a label misprint, but nowhere on the bottle does it say it actually contains honey.
It tastes like it’s brewed with honey, and on their website, Fuller’s tells me the non-export version is brewed with honey. It also claims to be organic, easy enough to believe for the barley, but how do you keep those bees reined in so they don’t go pollen-scavenging a Monsanto field of canola? I’m sceptical.
Fuller’s (also known as the Griffin Brewery) has expanded over time, acquiring a couple of breweries along the way and almost 400 pubs in South England to dispense their beers.
If you are looking for a life change, you can go on their website and check out the “pub tenancies” or “pub vacancies.” These are essentially pub franchises. Entering into one of these agreements makes you part of Fuller’s system. In England, they refer to this as a “tied house” whereby you have to buy a good portion of your beer from whichever brewery you are tied to.
Interestingly, the craft beer movement in parts of the United States has thumbed its nose at the idea of tied beer.
Stone Brewing out of San Diego was only serving up 20 per cent of their own delicious beer at their restaurant/sampling house when I visited a few years ago. The rest of the beers were made by other microbreweries.
This is a brave move in a competitive market, but it’s in keeping with the spirit of microbreweries who sometimes just have to let their beer do the talking.