This was a beer I first enjoyed on Santorini last year, after a long day in the sun. I remember it mainly being cold and refreshing, but also for its great flavor. I liked this beer and the Donkey range so much that I managed to get some shipped home to New Zealand. Being unfiltered the beer really needs to be kept refrigerated, but having tasted it on both sides of the shipping process the flavors are the same as they were after being transported. The Yellow Donkey is one of the flagship beers of the Santorini Brewing Company, a brewery based on the wine-manufacturing island of Santorini, a bit like some of the breweries around New Zealand.
The nose is full of flavor, with a rich mastic-like floral smell, with notes of rose and honey, and a bit of hops too. The taste is again rich with mastic and rose flavors, which carry on into the finish as well. There are a range of hops in there including some from Slovenia, Oregon, and New Zealand, but there isn’t really a bitterness to the beer as you would expect. The floral notes really define the flavor of this beer, not in an overpowering way, but rather in a way that simply works and makes a nice change from the standard run-of-the-mill blonde ales out there.
This beer is best cold and fresh. Being unfiltered it has a fair bit of sediment in it, which is just how I like it. This also gives the beer a cloudy look if you care to stir up the sediment or pour it out. The overall texture is quite light, but the flavors are bold and different from most other beers around at the moment. For me this is a beer like no other, and as far as easy-drinking beers go, especially of the blonde ale style, I think you will be hard-pressed to find something comparable in taste. If you are ever on Santorini (or Greece in general), keep an eye out for this one.
Who: Santorini Brewing Company, Greece
What: Blonde ale
Nose: Mastic, floral, rose, honey, hops
Look: Cloudy gold
Taste: Floral, mastic, rose
Finish: Floral, mastic, rose
Form Tried: 330ml bottle