Every delicious beer has a compelling tale behind it. I first noticed MJoe at a recent beer festival in OC. However, this is the second summer Victor Novak of TAPS was serving his ale. When we asked Novak for more on this liquid nourishment, here's what he shared:
Novak brewed a beer at Dock Street Brewery in Philadelphia back in the '90s with a fellow Svensk brewer called Mjod (pronounced Myoord), which is Swedish for mead. Rather than add the honey to the boil, he decided to add it on the cold side prior to fermentation (where it would lose a lot of its character) to retain the honey's aroma and flavor. This sold extremely well, but in typical dumb-American fashion, most people pronounced it "EM-jod."
Last summer, TAPS owner Joe Manzella requested a new summer ale, preferably one brewed with honey. Novak remembered this beer and, in a tip of the hat to Manzella, decided to brew it again and call it MJoe. Manzella provided raw orange blossom honey from the Massey Honey Company in Yorba Linda, which took the beer to another level.
The base beer is essentially TAPS' Kolsch, but with lower bittering units. The orange blossom honey is fresh and prominent on the nose and palate (without lingering too long), and MJoe finishes light, smooth and refreshing. This year's version uses mostly orange blossom honey, but Novak added a bit of Massey's wildflower honey because they were running out of the orange blossom. Available through July, this straw-colored wheat ale is easy like Sunday morning--yes, we had to go there.
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