Royal City Brewing Co. is a new (or at least new to me) brewery operating out of Guelph, Ontario. When I saw their Smoked Honey hit the shelves of my local beer vendor, I jumped at it, both because it's an early offering from a brewery I know nothing about, and because the description beguiled me: "Lightly smoked, easy drinking brown ale ... made with real honey." Sold.
The 500mL bottle boasted an attractive label and it has a 5.5% on there too, which isn't bad at all. The label invited me to "share with friends & enemies", but I decided to hoard this one to myself. Smoked Honey proved to be a deep mahogany ale. It was cloudy and had some subtle ruby highlights underneath a healthy eggshell head.
The aroma found an interesting point in an unusual spectrum, somewhere between sweet and smokey. In addition, there was an entertaining waft of brown ale malt running through from end to end. The flavour wasn't quite rich, but close. I'd call it bourgeois, upper-middle-class ale. Honey and woodsmoke mingled in this one, giving it a slight BBQ hue; however, neither honey nor smoke was present in abundance. As for my old pal hops, there wasn't much of a sight of him in this particular beer. Just a few footprints in the finish.
Nuance and restraint typify this flavoured ale. Really, in spite of its apiary and incendiary leanings, this beer was basically a mildly malty brown ale. It was too sweet for multiples in an evening, but an enjoyable treat that I'd gladly welcome next to a campfire as the sun goes down.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.