I was recently sent a sample of the Dundee Honey Brown Lager to sample for The Brew Club. Trying to be a good beer reviewer, I like to look into the beer itself and learn something about the brewer as well as the beer itself if I can. I’ve found that the Dundee ‘Original’ Honey Brown Lager has an interesting story.
Apparently, this ‘beer brewed with honey’ was a big hit for many years, and then for whatever reasons – maybe people’s tastes changed – its popularity began to wane. The people who brew the Dundee beers happen to be the same people who crank out Genessee beers from the same brewery in Rochester, New York.
The Dundee lineup went through something of a makeover, and all the beer styles got a new look similar to the label on the right in the picture.
I happen to like the new look that they came up with – but the sales of honey brown lager didn’t seem to bounce back as expected.
So, what was decided was that after a couple of years with the new look, Dundee thought that going back to the ‘classic’ label (bottle on left) would bring back the old fans of the beer who perhaps went away because they were confused by the new label. The old label emphasizes “HONEY BROWN” while the new one emphasizes the brand – Dundee.
It’s an interesting story and an interesting marketing idea – I’m curious to know how it turns out for them – if sales of honey brown lager go back up as a result of the new ‘old’ label or not. I’m not sure if they are going to retro-label the rest of their beer lineup or not. Anyone know? I actually like the new look of their beer lineup but I was never a Honey Brown buyer to begin with so I guess it doesn’t matter as much to me.
So, not that’s behind us so let’s check out the beer. Dundee Honey Brown Lager weighs in at 4.5% ABV and pours a very nice and clear (surprise!) honey-color. The picture below shows a decently sized foamy head that had pretty good retention.
I had the beer from the fridge so it was on the cold side, and for the most part smelling the beer didn’t reveal too much. It was mostly sweet smelling but I’m not sure I would say it smells a lot like honey. Not much else going on here really.
Getting on to the taste, the Honey Brown is also sweet and it has some nice malty flavors to it, but if I had to sum it up I would say that it tasted like a typical lager, with a little bit of a honey kick to it. I wouldn’t say that this beer screams honey flavors – just a touch and I found it to be more pronounced actually in the aftertaste. Otherwise, eh.
Mouthfeel and body were typically lager. Watery and thin, this beer won’t overly excite your tastebuds but hey, its a lager!
Overall, I think that the Dundee Honey Brown Lager, in whatever label they choose to dress it in is an OK lager. Its a definite step-up from the standard lager scene and might make a nice change from Corona or Bud at the BBQ this summer. It’s light which is nice during the hotter months – but its not all that complex or interesting as far as beers go.
The big thing with this beer is HONEY, and honestly it was less than spectacular in that regard. While a completely different style, I found that the Samuel Adams Honey Porter was much more honey-focused, and for a lager I thought that Pacifico, the Mexican-brewed lager did the honey thing a little bit better.
So, I’m going to give it 2 stars, mainly because it was OK, but turn up the honey flavor a bit more! Rating: