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The Unknown Brewing Co. | Hospitali–Tea Southern Amber Ale

Black and white photo of a pint glass of beer in an industrial setting.
Johnathan Pylant

ABV 5.4%

Have you seen the news lately? Summer refuses to relinquish its reign over the east coast. Personally, that just means more opportunities to pop the top on The Unknown Brewing Co.’s Hospitali–Tea Southern Amber Ale!

This is the first amber ale that I have come across brewed with black tea leaves. Most of the beers I have found to be brewed with tea were pale ales, IPAs and wheat beers. The Unknown Beer Co. took an amber ale recipe and added orange blossom honey and black tea leaves to the brewing process to make the closest thing to ice tea that has ever come out of a beer can.

Unknown Brewing Hospitali-Tea

Hospital–Tea pours with a thick white head over a copper body that, again, is all to reminiscent of iced tea. Scents of sweet malts and grass fill the nose with a surprising presence of hops. The description on The Unknown Brewing Co.’s website claims there are lemon scents as well, but I couldn’t detect any. Sipping the beer provides flavors of malt and tea on the front end. The tea is not obvious, so don’t be surprised if you or your friends don’t pick it out right away. It has a thin body, like tea, with moderate carbonation. The back-end is when the hops show up. It is not abrasive, but does remind you that is a beer in your hands. The orange blossom honey provides a very subtle sweetness that could very well just be coming from the malts. My point is, just because you see the word “southern” on the can, don’t expect it to taste like a Georgia sweet tea.

This is a highly drinkable beer. Every time I sit down with this beer, the glass is empty before I know it. Be careful, because this not a session beer. At 5.4% ABV, it won’t knock you on your butt, but it can creep up on you fast if you lose count too quickly. That said, it is a testament to just how great this beer is. I suggest grabbing a six-pack before this seasonal brew, unlike summer, gives way to winter.

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