Honey Gold, from Cropton Brewery, is reviewed by Craig Heap.
There are many oddly named beers in this fine land of ours, but for some reason Monkman’s Slaughter from Cropton Brewery has always stayed in my mind. The image of an axe-wielding monk going on a bloody rampage is a hard one to suppress, so Cropton’s beers always catch my eye whenever I see them about.
While less terrifyingly named, Honey Gold lets you know what you’re in for. This is ‘traditional real ale’ made with local Yorkshire Honey. It pours a light copper coloured, vibrant ale in the glass with a large head which soon disappears despite the steady carbonation. The aroma is lively and zesty, with floral blossom notes and a strong sweetness masking a hint of sourdough which borders on being acidic.
The first taste is an immediate glob of thick honey. The rich density of the honey makes the mouthfeel seem porridge-thick until familiarity sets in, at which point the body assumes a thinner quality. The honey is sweet, but not cloying or overpowering, coming across as a chunky, crystallized, natural honey rather than an artificially sweetened supermarket honey or even a refined acacia.
The long, honey taste is balanced by the underlying hop bitterness, the overall effect being like oozing honey slathered across a thick slab of earthy, granary bread with a thin layer of butter. I’ve never chomped into a honeycomb before, but I can imagine the comb having the same papery dryness which is evident in the finish of Honey Gold.
This is a tough beer to rate. It certainly lacks the complexity to bring people back for more, but then maybe that’s the point – it’s called Honey Gold, and it achieves that aim exactly. Even so, I was left underwhelmed by the experience.