Brouwerij De 3 Horne - Bananatana

Brouwerij De 3 Horne - Bananatana

Beer Club featured in Rare Beer Club

Style:

Fruit Beer Brewed with Bananas & Raisins (Sultanas)

Country:

Netherlands

Alcohol by Volume:

7.00%

Brouwerij De 3 Horne - Bananatana

  • Alcohol by Volume: 7.00%
  • Bottle Size: No
  • Serving Temperature: 40-45° F
  • Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Tulip
Bananatana, as in bananas and sultanas. Banana beer! What? Yes, but don’t freak out—this is actually a very interesting connoisseur beer that was created to showcase the concept of beer brewed with fruit rather than the syrup and extract beers that comprise much of the so labeled “fruit beers” on today’s market. Bananatana does not use extracts or fruit juice concentrates—it uses the actual fruits themselves as a major contributor of fermentable sugars, which means the sugary, extract-laden, fruit syrupy notes that you may expect in a “fruit beer” will not be found here—instead, this is a more subtle, more genuine fruit beer (or “beer with fruit” as the label is keen to point out). And it’s made with grapes, so the beer-meets-wine-meets-forget-expectations-because-there-are-bananas-too factor is in full effect here ladies and gentlemen. So, set any preconceived notions aside, and open your minds as you taste this burnished gold, butterscotch-colored hazy brew. Expect impressions of freshly peeled banana, instead of in-your-face banana esters—the beer actually has less banana notes than some hefeweizens we’ve had. Look for sultanas to contribute notes of fresh grapes. You’ll encounter some alcohol notes, similar to a weizenbock, with less banana & clove character than what you’d get by way of hefeweizen yeast. The nose is rounded out by some tart notes evoking Sweethearts candy, perhaps a bit Pez-like, with faint notes of blonde tobacco. Expect soft banana notes in the flavor profile, which take a back seat to a striking tartness, grape skins and mild cracked pepper. Finishes with mild notes of berries, gueuze, and plenty of alcohol, leaving a gin-and-grapefruit-cocktail-like character in the linger, and a nice almost wine-like acidity. This beer threw us for a big curve ball, as we really didn’t know what to expect. We thought it would be a big freaky banana bomb, but it’s really true to itself by being a tart fruit beer, truly lambic-like, using nontraditional lambic fruits. An engaging brew that brought us right back to the days when we were discovering styles for the first time. We savor moments like those on our beer panel.
The craft brewing scene in the Netherlands continues to impress. It’s a story not unlike that of the U.S. craft brewing movement—very grassroots, very organic, and inspired by beers that lacked inspiration. In the 1960s and ‘70s, about 99% of all beer available in the Netherlands was the ubiquitous pilsner style. But how, in a land that shares 280 miles of border with the beer haven that is Belgium, could this stand? Many Netherlanders had the same question, and so began the movement to import better beer. Classics like Duvel and Westmalle began appearing in classic Netherlands cafés, which still serve them today. It was in the ‘70s and ‘80s, similar to our own domestic craft beer evolution, that independent microbreweries came on the scene. Over the next 25+ years the struggle for market share has continued, resulting in about a 90%-to-10% Pilsner-to-everything-else ratio. Not bad, when you consider it used to be 99%-to-1%. But it’s not all about the numbers—the explosion in creativity and unbridled beery passion that belies that jump from 1%—that’s where the real story is, and it can be explored in each bottle of better brew from the Netherlands. One could make the argument that the extreme beer movement championed by US craft-brewers that remains in full swing today has leapt overseas to re-ignite the scene in the Netherlands as more adventurous brews bubble forth. Sjef Groothius, founder of Brouwerij De 3 Horne (the Three Horns Brewery, often referred to as “Drie Horne”), is one of the numerous Dutch beer champions who is also pushing the limits of what beer is. Sjef was actually ahead of the curve to some extent, founding his tiny microbrewery back in 1991 on the heels of being a top notch homebrewer. Since then, he’s been brewing his own brands, and some for local cafés and European beer distributors, and even uses his brewery to double as a homebrew and winemaking supply shop. Gotta love this guy. Sjef is not afraid to brew out of the box—which is evident in the very unusual beer we’ve selected for you this month. Read more below, and enjoy!
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