Posts Tagged With: Brown Ale

Weyerbacher Winter Ale

Beer: Winter Ale
Brewery:
 Weyerbacher Brewery
Style: English Brown Ale
ABV: 5.6%

weyer

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark cola body with no head.

Smell: Exceptionally malty and chocolately. I think this might be the most chocolately smelling beer I’ve encountered this year,

Flavor: Although the overall flavor is somewhat nondescript, the malts are the most pronounced. It’s a little toasted, a little sweet, but that’s about it.

Feel: Thin body with high carbonation. It has the mouthfeel of seltzer.

Concluding Remark: Weyerbacher usually produces loud, alcoholic beers that challenge both my tolerance and palette. However, it would seem that they were a little tired come the end of the year. Their 2012 Winter Ale is anything but interesting and challenging. It’s a somewhat watery, banal brown ale whose only redeeming quality is that it is quite easy to drink. Meh.

Categories: Brown Ale, Holiday | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Goose Island Christmas Ale

Beer: Christmas Ale
Brewery: Goose Island
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 7.3%

goose

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

beeruse-copy

Sight: Cloudy, deep amber body with no head.

Smell: It smells like an overripe fruit basket, with prominent plum and cherry aromas. There’s an underlying note of alcohol esters.

Flavor: Okay, there are a number of intricate flavors swimming around in this beer. For one, there is a roasted malts and caramel profile indicative of its Brown Ale base. However, there is also quite a bite from the hops, as well a healthy dose of holiday cheer (aka spices and other seasonal flair). There’s a bit of a fruit cake thing going on, as well as hints of anise and mint. Complex is a word I would use.

Feel: Thin, syrupy body with high carbonation. The flavors would’ve been better grounded in a fuller beer.

Concluding Remark: Goose Island’s Christmas Ale offers consumers a plethora of little flavor presents (apologies–there are only so many holiday metaphors). While not a explosion of holiday spirit, we have here a Brown Ale that’s decently balanced with the added bonus of unique flavors such as cranberries, gingerbread, anise, and mint. As Goose Island changes the recipe every year, I cannot vouch for how many of these ingredients actually made it into the beer. However, I can guarantee that you’ll find at least some of these cheerful flavors in this Christmas Ale, an exploration worthy of a pint, I say!

funny elf

This is Keebler Elf-approved holiday beer.
Categories: Brown Ale, Holiday | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Abita Christmas Ale

Beer: Christmas Ale
Brewery: Abita Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.5%

IMAG1387

Serving Style: Draft
Drinking Establishment: Spuyten Duyvil
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Clear deep garnet body with a dense white head.

Smell: It has an extreme Christmasy spruce scent–and not in that artificial car air freshener way. It smells like walking through a Christmas tree lot.

Flavor: While there is a slight trace of pine, there’s little else in here that screams HOLIDAY CELEBRATION IN MY BEER. It kind of just tastes like a poorly executed IPA.

Feel: Thin body with high carbonation.

Concluding Remark:  All I’m going to say about this is that I did not feel festive after drinking Abita’s Christmas Ale. False advertising. Next.

Categories: Brown Ale, Holiday | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Sixpoint Brownstone

Beer: Brownstone
Brewery: Sixpoint
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.0%

sixpoint

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Hazy amber body with a dense beige head.

Smell: Hmm…something seems out of place. Are those hops? While there are about a thousand different smells emerging from my glass, spruce and caramel are the dominant aromas.

Flavor: Hmm…something seems out of place. Are those hops? As with the smell, there are a number of flavors swimming around in this glass. Unsurprisingly, hops take the helm of this flavor battle, with a exceedingly delicious herbal character. Other flavors (aka the losers) include Team Sweet Biscuit and Team Salty Caramel.

Feel: This is one of those beers where the mouthfeel is so fantastic (read: appropriately carbonated) that you could drink a million regardless of its flavor. Luckily, the flavor also rules. So make that two million, please.

Concluding Remark: Sixpoint’s Brownstone is not as classic as its name would have you believe. (Brownstones? Vernacular architecture? New York? Anyone?) Instead, it is of the Indian Brown Ale variety with its immense hops content. I’m not shocked that Sixpoint’s Brown Ale favors the hops: they are known for producing big, hoppy ales. Brownstone is no exception. Perhaps I’m just over the sweet maltiness of the last month, but Brownstone is hitting the right spot right now. As I try to be as unbiased as possible (i.e., not let my own personal beer preference trump a stylistically accurate beer), I will say that as an Indian Brown Ale, Sixpoint’s Brownstone is a success. As a straightforward Brown Ale, it’s overly hopped. But if I’ve learned anything from a month of Brown Ales, it’s that it rarely pays to be straightforward. And by “pays” I of course mean that the straightforward Brown Ales were mostly pretty boring.

To end our month of Brown Ales, I transcribed the poem from the back of the Brownstone can:

“…and coming out of the brownstone house to the gray sidewalk, the watered street, one side of the buildings rises with the sun like a glistening field of wheat.”

– Letter to N.Y. (for Louise Craine), Elizabeth Bishop

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Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Beer: Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Brewery: Rogue Ales
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.2%

rogue

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Cloudy, deep amber body with no head.

Smell: This smells exactly like Life cereal and maple syrup. Really, there’s no need for further discussion.

Flavor: If Nutella and beer had a baby…as the phrase goes, this would be it. The resemblance to that divine nutty spread is uncanny. Other passing flavors include cream soda, dark honey, and maple syrup.

Feel: Thin with prickly carbonation.

Concluding Remark: Clearly we are taking liberties as to what we’re allowed to drink for “Brown Ale Month.” Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar is it’s own sensation–this is certainly not a tribute to Brown Ales past nor falls within the Brown Ale canon. This beer tastes like a bottle of hazelnut flavoring (think coffee flavoring) was dumped into an average Brown Ale. While the sweetness of the hazelnut gets old by the end of the pint, it satiates my fantasy of an alcoholic Nutella…and that’s good enough for me. Thanks, Rogue!

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Climax Brewing Incompetent Scholar

climaxlogo

Beer: Incompetent Scholar
Brewery: Climax Brewing Company
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: Unknown! 6% (estimate)

climax

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Hazy, deep maroon body with a small, whispy head.

Smell: Alcoholic raisins. Well, strong raisin, plum, rotten apples, and cheap brandy aromas.

Flavor: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK. OH GOD THIS IS SO TANGY. SO SO FUNKY AND TANGY. MY FACE WILL FOREVER BE IN A PUCKERED CONTORSION. I WILL NEED BOTOX JUST TO RELAX MY FACE MUSCLES. OH GOD. Okay, I’ll try to describe this sensation. It literally feels like drinking lemon juice, though that isn’t the weird-ass flavor that this tastes like. Rather, it tastes like bitter cherries and rotting citrus.

Feel: Thin with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: I’ll start with another caveat: I love sour things. Lemons, Warheads, dill pickles, vinegar…you name it. I thought I loved all sour things. However, I realize, I love sour things that don’t taste like rotting fruit. I also need to state that this is THE Belgian style I’ve been talking about: this is an Oud Bruin. These are supposed to be quite tangy due to  an extended fermentation that causes  the yeast and other yummy bacterias to develop a sour flavor. And they’re supposed to taste like cherries, plums, and malts. So, Climax’s Incompetent Scholar would appear to not fall far from the Oud Bruin tree. But something went horribly wrong…

I was hoping that the previous beer (McChouffe) was going to be a reference point for how this American Oud Bruin should taste, given that it is actually from Belgian. However, as we learned, McChouffe likes to hang out in Scotland and the Incompetent Scholar is soley a Flemish creation (although Climax Brewing is out of Roselle Park, NJ). I TOTALLY appreciate Climax experimenting with obscure euro styles, but guys, you still need to sell beer. If I hadn’t done my research and tried this, I would’ve sworn it had spoiled. It really tastes like rotten lemon juice. Admittedly, I did some quick research on this beer to see what other fellow beer enthusiasts have said and it seems that it’s hella delicious on draft, but bottled…not so much. Despite some on the surface similarities (aromas and color), this is NOT what an Oud Bruin should taste like. There goes what I was hoping to be an educational experience.

I can say with confidence that very few people will enjoy this. I can’t finish it. And that’s saying a lot. Again, I’m not exclusively blaming Climax, but rather that this is an inaccessible style of beer that most consumers should stay away from. If one should brave this bizarre style, find an ‘authentic’ Oud Bruin, like the La Folie from New Belgium Brewing or Goudenband from Brouweij Liefmans.

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Mc Chouffe Artisanal Belgian Brown Ale

mc_chouffe_round

Beer: Mc Chouffe
Brewery: Brasserie d’Achouffe
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 8.0%

chouffe

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Cloudy, dark garnet body with a thick, fluffy white head.

Smell: Oh, how I welcome the return of the Belgian Ale. It smells like sweet and tangy phenols (Belgian yeast) with a light malt aroma. There are also notes of apple and metal.

Flavor: Whoa. Just whoa. This literally tastes like walking into a candy store. It reminds me of Sour Patch Kids, that really syrupy sweet fake watermelon flavor, Skittles, and an ice cream sundae with caramel sauce. And a milk chocolate bar with cayenne pepper. Time for lunch…

Feel: Thin with full, effervescent carbonation. I know that’s a weird way of describing carbonation, but it feels like drinking an alcoholic cloud. Don’t believe me? You’ll just have to try it.

Concluding Remark: I’ll start with the caveat that Brasserie D’Achouffe’s Artisinal Brown Ale is a complete singularity. It doesn’t fall into any of the categories of Brown Ale we’ve explored, or even mentioned. I know we referenced that Belgian Brown Ales exist, but we were talking about the traditional Flemish Ould Bruins–a funky, almost sour ale. This? This is a unique hybrid of the Belgian Strong Ale and…a Scotch Ale.

The McChouffe is not a product of a collaboration with McDonald’s–no, it is what the brewers at D’Achouffe call a beer “inspired by the tale of a Scottish Chouffe who along with his Belgian friend created an eccentric “new style” Scottish Ale/Abbey Ale.” While we have not covered Scotch Ales (yet!), I will say that they are known for their caramel and malty flavors (to make a vast overgeneralization). One thing Belgian Ales are NOT known for are caramel flavors, and depending on the style, a heavy malt note. So when examining the two styles that went into the McChouffe, this is quite an accurate result of what a Scotch Ale and Abbey Ale would taste like. Kudos, McChouffe! However, this is NOT a Brown Ale–only by name.

While certainly a bewildering concoction, it’s not a perfect brew. The flavors are really all over the place and it just leaves me with a generic, dare I say boring, sweet flavor. In order to be a successful Scotch-Benelux hybrid, McChouffe should search for some roasted malts. While a valiant effort, I guess this little Chouffe just got too tired on his trek across the ocean to Scotland to create a magical beer.

Categories: Belgian, Brown Ale | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Harvest Moon New Brunswick Brown Ale

harvest-moon-brewery-cafe-logo

Beer: New Brunswick Brown Ale
Brewery: Harvest Moon Brewery
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.7%

harvest

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Harvest Moon Brewery, New Brunswick, NJ
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dull dark brown body with a dense, yet frothy head.

Smell: Pretty uninteresting, flat roasted malt aroma.

Flavor: Roasted malts, dominant walnut flavor, with a bit of a hop bite at the end.

Feel: Medium body with low carbonation.

Concluding Remark: The New Brunswick Brown Ale is a completely average Brown ale from Harvest Moon. There’s little complexity to this beer; rather, it tastes like its underdone, that it needed to sit for awhile longer in order to cultivate some flavor. If you’re in the New Brunswick area, indulge in their Double Simcoe IPA instead–which is where I sought refuge after finishing this pint.

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Dogfish Indian Brown Ale

Beer: Indian Brown Ale
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 7.2%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark darky dark brown body with an inch of dense tan head.

Smell: This is one deep brew: overpowering coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted malts. NOW TIME TO DRINK.

Flavor: Impossibly delicious dark chocolate and espresso flavors. There’s also a rich, decadent caramel that swirls in the middle. A bite from the hops comes through at the end.

Feel: Creamy, thin body with moderate carbonation.

Concluding Remark: The Indian Brown Ale is one of Dogfish Head’s longest continually produced beers–13 years and counting. After enjoying a pint of it, this comes as no surprise. This is one of those beers that you pick up when just want something good. It’s sweet, dark, bright, hoppy…and quite alcoholic (7.2%). What more could one want in a beer?

I was a little bit hazy on what constitutes an “Indian Brown Ale.” While I made the assumption that an Indian Brown Ale is a Brown Ale-IPA hybrid, the DFH website clarifies that it in fact a Scotch Ale-Brown Ale-IPA amalgam. Apparently, the Indian Brown Ale has to looks of a Brown Ale, the sweetness of a Scotch Ale, and the bitterness of an India Pale Ale. The result is the perfect offspring–eugenics at its best.

Categories: Brown Ale | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Big Muddy Monster

Beer: Big Muddy Monster
Brewery: Big Muddy Brewery
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.5%

Serving Style: Bottle
Drinking Establishment: Chez Wood
Primary Consumer: Kerensa

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OVERALL RATING:

Sight: Dark, muddy waters here. Tiny head that recedes quickly.

Smell: Is this a Brown Ale? Initial waft is pine, mint, grapefruit, and rubbing alcohol if you sniff at it long enough.

Flavor: The name “Monster” is definitely apropos.  It tastes like all the flavors of a Brown Ale and all the flavors of an IPA. Isn’t there that term…what is it…”flavor country”? Well, I’m going to use that term and make a billboard that says, “Welcome to flavor country, population MONSTER.” But anyways. Flavors. Honestly, I’m having a difficult time discerning individual tastes in this big muddy mess. It tastes like being dropkicked by a ton of roasted malts and then punched in the mouth by a variety of hops. Clearly, those are this Monster’s fight tactics.

Feel: Thinnish body with high carbonation. And it just feels DENSE.

Concluding Remark: This is my first time trying anything from Big Muddy Brewing outta Murphysboro, Illinois, and what a way to start. This Monster Brown Ale is an intense Brown Ale-IPA hybrid, as stated in the “flavor” section of this programming. Perhaps it isn’t the most delicious beer of all time, but powerful as hell. Just as a Monster should be. While the flavors are a little MUDDIED (groan, pun), you’ll keep trying to figure out what you are drinking until it’s gone and all you’re left with is a faint memory of what once was.

Kind of like a yeti spotting.

So, on that note. Naturally, I was wondering if the Big Muddy Monster was some legendary Illinois cryptoid, because that’s just who I am. And guess what?!?! IT IS! Could this beer get any better?

Apparently, some hairy brown globby monster was spotted causing a ruckus in Murphysboro in 1973. In response to what this monster was, an eyewitness said, “I don’t know, but I saw this substance and smelled the smell.” Cryptozoologists definitively agreed that this was big foot. (OMG IT REALLY DOES EXIST.) This is an artist’s rendering:

Artist’s Rendering

What I’m saying is that this is one scary beer for beer style classicists. But for those adventurous types, go put on your drinking and cryptoid-hunting gear, and fetch yourself a Big Muddy Monster!

Categories: Brown Ale | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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