East Vancouver is starting to become a destination for great craft beer in British Columbia. B.C. Beer Reviews has taken notice of this on multiple occasions. The newest addition to Yeast Van is that of East Van Brewing. They do not back down from putting out multiple styles, with an Oaked Saison on tap and even a beer using Buckwheat.
B.C. Beer Reviews: East Van Brewing – Humble Hive
Humble Hive is an English Brown Ale from East Van Brewing that has incorporated honey from bees in East Van. The description on the side of the bottle says to look out for honey, nutty notes, and a strong malt/grain bill presence.
Let’s see if their description matches the brew in the bottle.
This beer is a very deep brown colour, which matches up very well with the style. Despite being deep brown in colour there is still a nice clarity to this beer. There is a translucence when pouring the beer into the glass and you can see right through this one in the right lighting.
Much like you would expect from the style, you get a strong malty sweetness from this beer. The malt/grain bill is right up front in the nose/aroma of this beer. There is a slight caramel, nutty, and toasted bread aroma right off the bat. These are very pleasant notes to start off the beer and they match up perfectly with the style.
The other sweet note you get from this beer is that of honey. The typical sweetness you would expect from honey is very noticeable in this one. This goes hand in hand with the malty notes at play in this one.
There is very little perceivable presence of the hops used in the nose/aroma. The malt/grain bill and the honey notes dominate this beer, and that is perfectly in line with the expectations of the style.
The malt/grain bill is the dominant note once again. Notes of toasted bread and nutty notes are the dominant characteristics imparted by the malt/grain bill. The bready note is almost bordering on being a bit burnt. It is not enough to be considered acrid or even unpleasant, but it certainly adds a bit of a bite to this beer.
The honey is noticeable again, but it is much more on the back end of your palate. It becomes more of an aftertaste in this beer. It hits the other end of the spectrum from how this one starts out.
The most surprising part of this beer is the very noticeable bitter backbone it has. Right from the first sip you get a bitter kick, and it follows through to the end of each drink. It helps to balance out the powerful notes of the malt/grain bill in this brew.
The branding/labeling is distinctive and very well done. A matte black label that has a skull with bees and honey all over it with the top of the skull turning into a honeycomb. There is gold coming through from behind the skull as well, adding a nice touch to the artistic take of this label. Very nice labeling.
The head this beer pours is moderate, but the retention is virtually nonexistent. As soon as you notice it, it is gone.
The carbonation level is above average. There is a very noticeable and everpresent crispness to this beer that is primarily due to the carbonation. This helps to accentuate the level of perceived bitterness from the hops.
Despite there being a crispness and bitterness to this beer it has a very sweet and smooth finish. Unsurprisingly, this is where the honey comes into play. The mouthfeel is fairly thin as well, which is okay with the style.
The malt/grain bill and honey are the dominant notes in both the nose/aroma and the tasting notes. Honey, toasted bread, and nutty notes dominate this beer. A well-balanced approach to an old style, and very well done at that.
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