I know what you’re thinking, he’s lost it. It’s a brown ale. He’s really writing about a brown ale? Yes, I’m really writing about a brown ale. Why? Because it’s not an IPA, or a New England IPA, or a Non England IPA, or West Coast, East Coast, No Coast IPA, Session IPA, [enter whatever IPA I didn’t mention here]. Maybe it’s because I remember a time where a brown ale was one of the few beers we could call our own here in Knoxville – all 35 versions of it. Maybe because it’s simple, yet just different enough. A style that has the potential to show people that dark beers aren’t all that bad. Or maybe it’s because even with all the beer we have in Knoxville right now, I’m proud of this one too and think it deserves notice in this sea of choices.
Enough already, let’s get to it. This beer hails from Elkmont Exchange by way of McScrooge’s Wine and Spirits. What I love about this beer is that A) they come in a four-pack – I’m not over committed. B) the brown ale enters a territory of mutual beer-agreement with the Mrs in that we both enjoy it. C) I dig cooking with brown ales. Soups, Chili’s, cake batter, even in the drip pan of the smoker – what can’t this style do? D) It’s local. I know these guys and I know that the money I spend on this beer helps support them. Let’s jump in.
The color of this beer is black in the center and brown/ruby towards the edges. Tanish head that hangs around. On the nose I find malt – chocolate and caramel goodness. Maybe a little nuttiness and a touch of what may be a citrus hop note – not sure. At first I wanted to say tropical but I may have tricked my brain into citrus. On the palate the malts shine through first and I find a nice roast quality, chocolate, the nuttiness is more prevalent here. Hops characteristics play through stronger here with some bitterness at the back. Carbonation is moderate, moderate mouthfeel and it certainly lingers.
Final snobs: This is a great beer. I might tweak the hops just slightly if I were going for an award but an example fresh off the tank probably has what I’m looking for. Honestly, leave it as is – very drinkable, very flavorful and versatile. At 6.5% this beer is at the upper end of the range for the style but hey, it’s worth every point.
And YES my next beer this evening will probably be an IPA. There, I said it.