Why honey beers are misunderstood


Charlie Mops wannabe
Staff member
Your lawn may still be covered in snow, your dog’s forgotten tennis balls buried in backyard permafrost. But the calendar says it’s spring, and so do beer releases. Beers brewed with honey are a perennial entry on warm-weather lineups, with styles ranging from blondes to brown ales to double IPAs. Though beers brewed with honey are fairly common, there’s lots of confusion about what effects honey as a brewing ingredient has on beer.
That confusion is understandable, because honey is a complex ingredient. It’s the subject of its own annual events, the Honey Beer Summits put on by the National Honey Board to educate brewers about using honey. A few definitions before we get started: Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from honey, water, yeast, and sometimes fruit. A braggot—a term you’ll rarely encounter—is a beer-mead hybrid, and traditionally the mead and beer ferment together. Honey beers—a much more common term—are any beers containing some honey in their recipe. I’ll leave discussions of mead and braggots out of this piece, if no one minds.

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