Alpine Mandarin Nectar Honey Ale

The Alpine Beer Company has done right by me so far. The worst I've had was good. The other two were both very good, indeed. So, I don't think I'm taking that big of a risk with this one, although the ingredients have me worried. The reason I saw this on the shelf and passed by so many times is that the idea of a mandarin-based cider or mead or something doesn't appeal to me. But these guys know what they're doing.

The beer, and it has all the presentation of a beer, is an orange honey color with enough head to not be mistaken for a cider or mead. Points of nucleation abound with them generating more head as it dissipates, so the head is never allowed to go away entirely. The aroma is strangely more bready than I expected. The fruits that I expected to smell are missing. I assume they will be in the sip, but you never know.

First sip is an echo of the nose, but a lot more of it. It's not just a lack of fruits and the existence of bread - it's an overwhelming bread that is filled with wheat and yeast and barley and other... I don't know, bread stuff. This is not at all what I expected, and I'm okay with a beer not matching up to what I expect, so long as it is better than my expectations. The sip... is just different. Not really better.

Tip-in is heavy bread filled with yeast and a very light orange; I can't really say if it's mandarin or just regular orange, as it is just kind of an orange impression. The middle is grains absolutely tearing at the top of the mouth, and they are helped quite a bit by the carbonation adding a sort of acidic feel to the whole thing. The finish comes with kind of a hollow and bitter grainy bread and yeast.

Bottom Line: The beer doesn't seem to match the ingredients, and the end result is not as pleasurable as it needs to be.



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