Honour | More Brewing
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Join me, if you will, on a trip a decade prior. Before items in the bakery aisle started appearing in beer. When, in a sign of things to come, the highest rated beer was Trappist Westvleteren 12, a Belgian Quadruple one could only get at the monastery. A beer slowly climbed up the ratings, eventually eclipsing Westy 12. I found this out at a bottle share after generously being offered this beer by Beer Me Fitz. That beer was, of course, Heady Topper by The Alchemist and it would eventually lead to a new style of beer – the hazy IPA. Oft imitated years ago, few breweries release Heady Topper-like beers nowadays. More Brewing, however, has decided to give it a go with their recent release of Honour.
No stranger to all things hoppy, More’s Honour features Amarillo, CTZ, Idaho 7 and Simcoe hops along with using Conan yeast. More’s description says this is a “new type of IPA” for them, so I’m assuming the Conan yeast represents that. The hop combination intrigues me, as it represents a nice mix of old school and new-ish hops.
Honour pours a bronze color with a nice two fingers of head resting atop. Big and billowing, that head eventually recedes to a thin wispy layer. The burnt sunset color – a yellow and orange tint – suits a beer meant to be a Heady homage beautifully. The fact that I can see straight through to the other side also brings back fond memories of IPAs past. (In comparison to Heady, I don’t know. Most of the time I drank it from the can, as instructed by the can.)
The aroma precedes itself. Grassy, resinous hops fill the room as soon as it hits the glass. Daring to dive in more, a certain malt sweetness I perceived as an orange candy rushes at you. Some tropical fruits join in the fun as well, dominated by mango. A small amount of lemon and spices complement the fruits. All of this combines together to get the smell of “November Grass.”
A big amount of hop bite greets you as you drink. But it doesn’t get overwhelming or too bitter. The orange candy sweetness from the malt keeps the bitterness in check allowing for repeated sipping. The malt asserts itself and then backs off, just like a good malt should! Honour clocks in at 8% ABV and, just like those hoppy IPA golden days, you can taste it. No hiding behind a ton of juiciness or some addition here. Tropical fruits pepper the tongue, while everything ends on a more grassy bitter note.
Much like Heady and other “classic” IPAs, Honour thankfully keeps its carbonation near medium. That carbonation allows that malt sweetness to stick around a bit. But don’t misconstrue that – Honour isn’t sweet. Between the sweetness and bitterness loitering around your mouth, Honour begs you to keep drinking until the liquid in the can disappears.
With regards to it being a Heady Topper clone, it’s close but no cigar. Heady Topper, from what I remember (it’s been a while), scores much higher on the bitterness/IBU scale than Honour does. I remember it being an assault on the palate with dank, resinous, and grassy hops taking turns pummeling your tongue. I don’t remember Heady being as sweet as Honour. Honour does get the bitterness and mouthfeel correct, however. As a Heady homage, I’d put it second locally behind one of the Hubbard’s Cave Fresh IIPA beers (I think it’s v42? It’s the one with Simcoe.)
All that being said, you get your money’s worth from Honour. For me – kind of burnt out on all the haze the past half decade – the bitterness and malt sweetness recoup my costs. The bitterness goes big but never too much like during the IBU race days. The malt keeps everything from going too bitter while contributing a nice amount of sweet balance to the overall experience. I wish more and more breweries would have a beer – just one! – on tap or available like this for when I’m craving something more in the West Coast IPA vein. Too many times have I been to breweries where all the hoppy options are variations on haze. Give me some of that malt and bitterness! Give me some more More Honour!