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Dundee Honey Brown Lager

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dundee-honey-brown-glassSilly me. I read the name of this beer and immediately jumped to the conclusion that Dundee Honey Brown was a Brown Ale with a touch of honey — a concept that seemed both blasphemous and dangerously intriguing.

But don’t let the “brown” part of the name fool you — Dundee Honey Brown tastes like a lager, through and through. That is, a lager with a generous dollop of honey.

You’d think that by this stage of the game, I’d be adept at reading beer labels; and yet, somehow I missed the “Lager brewed with pure honey” line written immediately below “Honey Brown”.

My first clue came when the beer poured a pale, honey-colored orange. But the real clincher came when my nose hovered above the glass — because Dundee Honey Brown smells like a fizzy lager, yeasty and malty, with very little character.

The beer did create a fluffy head, and the soft, honeyed-color was attractive; so my expectations rose a bit. But when it came to drinking the beer, I was surprised by how watery it seemed. The initial taste displayed little to steal my interest — it was weak, gently malty, with no apparent hops — and the blandness simply increased my impression of wateriness.

Don’t get me wrong, Dundee Honey Brown isn’t a complete loss! The weak lager taste grew sweeter throughout the swallow, finishing with a distinct taste of honey. It’s that sweet honey that defies expectations and improves an otherwise boring beer. Even the label seems to acknowledge this fact:

“What’s supposed to go in beer? German purity laws say you’re only allowed four ingredients. But this is America . . . the land of individualism, civil disobedience, and footballs that don’t roll like the rest of the world wants them to. So we decided that for Dundee Honey Brown we’d add a fifth — a touch of pure honey. Granted, that’s a recipe that’s a little different. But we figure you can be like everyone else or you can be yourself and drink something unique. Go ahead. Be different.”

Personally, I didn’t enjoy this beer very much, but Dundee is far from bad. Many of the lager-heads who stand by their mass-produced light beers (even those who would never drink the strong dundee-honey-brown-detailales and dark stouts I so enjoy) could discover a new appreciation for taste and style in a beer like Dundee Honey Brown.

Dundee is owned by the High Falls Brewing Company of Rochester, NY. Though the light-hearted label text is quite new, Honey Brown has been a longtime favorite of High Falls’ Dundee line. Dundee Honey Brown used to be called “J.W. Dundee Honey Brown”, but the stodgy initials were dropped from the brand when Dundee’s packaging changed in 2008. The re-branding and new labels were intended to reflect a quirky, craft beer personality.

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Wow, that is disappointing. I was hoping the new packaging would mean a new recipe… It would seem that is not the case… Too bad.


That’s a good point, Kevin. The recipe doesn’t seem to have changed. In fact, the official name of this beer is the “Original Honey Brown”, a distinction that seems designed to retain old fans.

At least they didn’t take the Coca-Cola route and call it “Honey Brown Classic”…


Do yourself a favor, and DO NOT try their IPA. I’d hate for you to waste one of your beer days on that. I sampled their lineup recently and was very disappointed by the IPA. Not much hops, but a lot of sweetness. In fact, the whole lineup was very sweet. The porter seemed to have the best balance between the sweetness and, well, flavor.


The Honey Brown is the least impressive of the whole pack. Their beers have gotten better. I completely disagree with Tom. Their IPA isnt bad.



Maybe I just had a bad bottle. It didn’t catch my attention the way IPA’s do. For example, there was almost no hop aroma and I was left with a lot of sweetness in the finish.


Coke Classic is a better beer than Dundee’s Honey Brown. I also expected a brown ale. Boy, was i disappointed!


I disagree with everyone. I love all different varieties of beer, and I brew my own beer as well. I love Honey Brown. It’s sweet, smooth and very easy to drink!


I just tried Honey Brown tonight and thought it was great. Yes, it’s not anything like a brown ale or a stout, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s a good, easy to drink beer with more flavor than your typical American lager.


I just had this beer recently as well and while it isn’t too bad, I thought it was actually pretty plain. I got some honey in the flavor, but I didn’t think it was enough to really make the beer anything special.

I think the recipe is indeed the same with the ‘new’ old label. The label change was to try and recapture old fans of the beer whose tastes have likely moved on.


I love honey brown. It’s my favorite. My second favorite is shiner bock.


Maybe you should try a bottle at celler tempature and you would appreciat the lager. also add a pinch of salt..


What a good American beer I could not believe the good taste of it. It is the best lager beer in America.


Is everyone just crazy? Just kidding. But really, Original Honey Brown, AKA Dundee’s Honey Brown Lager is an inexpensive beer with a little twist. When I was a 21 year old, just getting started, my friends had no taste, and I chose Honey Brown over, well, all the pale ale. Later in life, after a decade of not drinking anything, I allowed the pale ales in and realized the best really is Budweiser, and the cheapest is, well, Nati Bo, Pabst, etc… so if you like inexpensive beers, and you want something different, go Honey Brown. If you want deep brown (amber, black, etc), spend more than six bucks a six pack. Laugh Out Loud! Honey Brown is a Classic. To hell with Coca Cola; its a great soda, but Yay beer! Peace all. Soulforms


Oh yeah, and Shiner’s got some great inexpensive alternatives to the big boys. Not to mention Black and Tan. Anyone else think Guinness Draught is the perfect beer? I gotta say, Honey Brown is just a good inexpensive alternative to what this article seems to be about in the first place; craftbrews, microbrews,homebrews, etc… eat drink and be merry!

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