I’ve been on a Brown Ale kick lately that was started by my roommates and I deciding to brew a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar clone. Our beer(s) turned out quite nicely (we kegged one five gallon batch with homemade pecan extract instead of hazelnut) and ever since I’ve sought out Brown Ales on the tap anywhere I go. This past weekend I was near the Golden Road brewery and jonesing for a beer (like normal), so I figured I’d swing by pub to see what was on tap. And what do you know, they had their Brown Ale all kegged up and waiting for me.
For our take on a more traditional English-style brown, we added trace amounts of smoked malt to emphasize the roast, while keeping the malt sweetness from lingering. If you can wait long enough, let the beer warm up and observe how the darker qualities of the malt take center stage as the smoke continues to slowly surface.
A Golden Road pint glass full of dark cola brown ale was handed to me and I headed back to my seat ready to dig in. The head had faded significantly to just a coconut colored film by the time I made it back to my table just a few steps away. Maroon highlights were present when held to the light that momentarily threw me for a loop. Lacing was a tight-knit sheet of bubbles that disappears after the glass had settled.
For as robust as the beer looked, the nose was rather muted. Milk chocolate and roasted malts were the only two noticeable smells and both were rather tame. I was surprised by the fact that it actually smelled thin (in body), which isn’t really a trait that is normally detectable in the nose.
The taste was all about the malts. Roasted malts. Chocolate malts. Barley. A faint twinge of hop bite popped up at the very end and continued to increase exponentially as the beer warmed. There was an odd carbonated chocolate milk taste that made me do a double take.
Mouthfeel is lightish and relatively creamy. There is a bit to the gums that usually isn’t present in Brown Ales (probably comes from the same place as that carbonated chocolate milk flavor). The carbonation increases as the temperature goes up.
The folks at Golden Road claim that this is an English-style Brown Ale, but it definitely seemed more West Coast to me. The roastiness isn’t as forward in the taste as your tradition English Browns and you can’t forget about that exponential hoppiness that wouldn’t be present in a UK version. I actually liked this beer more as it warmed up due to the increasing carbonation and hop flavors.
Overall: 5.5 out of 10
As a BROWN ALE: 6 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Bear Republic/Fat Head’s/Stone TBA, Drake’s HOPPY ASS BROWN, Dogfish Head INDIA BROWN ALE