Beer: Old Brown Dog Ale
Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa
Sight: Cloudy dark ruby body with a tiny tan head.
Smell: Welcome to Maltville, population this beer. These malts are of the roasted variety: prominent aromas of toast, grains, and a hint of mocha.
Flavor: The initial flavor is generic bitterness. The bitterness is not from the hops, instead from the charred malts. There’s not a ton of other flavors in this. Maybe a bit of chalky bitter chocolate, but that’s about it.
Feel: Thin with moderate carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.
Concluding Remark: Well, this is my first official foray into the world of “Brown Ales.” While I’ve been a casual observer since 2006, I hadn’t a clue what I was getting myself into this month. And now I know why. I can’t say that I enjoy Brown Ales. And I’m not going to blame the adorable chocolate lab on Smuttynose’s label because, well, Smuttynose is a damn fine brewery and their dog is even finer. I can think about 35 beers off the top of my head that I would rather be drinking right now. I know, I know, I’m coming out of Pumpkin Ale month; any other style would taste like rotten milk after drinking 20 pumpkin ales. So, I know, I need to judge Old Brown Dog Ale on its merits not by my major miss-age of gourds in my beer.
So, Old Brown Dog Ale. It’s solid. It reminds me of a number of British ales I encountered on a trot over to London this summer (except with carbonation). It’s dry, malty, and delivers a relatively decent flavor. I foolishly did not check the ABV before finishing it, so half way in I unexpectedly started to feel a little warm…not something I usually feel until three or four beers in. Why? Oh, because this Brown Dog delivers 6.7% ABV. So, okay, I have a little more respect for this canine now. I understand why some of my friends buy this on occasion. And okay, as it sits it develops a slightly fruity flavor that makes it just a little bit more interesting. We’ll give it a 4 Pint Glass rating because I have a feeling this might be as good as it gets.
The internet tells me that Old Brown Dog is a quintessential “American Brown Ale,” differing from its English counterparts by its fuller body and robust hops. If that’s the case, I can say I’m not particularly looking forward to doing an Enlglish Brown Ale run next week. But I look forward to being surprised.