Profiled by Maria Devan for PGA
Pours true brown and completely opaque. There are no lighter hues to be discovered. A fat, tan head of creamy foam on top that lasts and leaves lace. Appearance is stately and handsome.
Nose is terrific with toasty malt and dark scents. There is coffee, and chocolate and burnt toast. Just underneath it all is a wonderful hop floral and some bright , sweet grapefruit peel. Bread-y malt promises a bit of caramel. A very light pine scent gives the hops away as they seem to want to hide a bit.
Taste is smooth and creamy. Toasted and dry flavors. Coffee that is strong but not bitter, lightly sweet chocolate and a bit of burnt toast. The hops are graceful and never come to outdo the malt. Caramel is smooth and you might not even notice how smooth without the bit of grapefruit peel to really help show it off. The light grapefruit peel provides a wonderful contrast and really accents that bittersweet chocolate well. These hops are under control and bring a lightness to the drink overall. The hops finally come forward in the finish to show a bit of bitter and a nice little citrus-y twang. Mouthfeel is smooth and medium full with moderate carbonation and a touch of hop oil on the body of the beer.
Really well done. This beer drinks like a brown with all the roast and smoothness you would expect. The hops are an addition and not the focus but contribute to the drink by adding a bit of pizazz to the toasty flavors and not by stripping the beer of it’s identity as a brown ale. A classic brown ale with a bit of cheerful hops to carry it off with a decidedly sunny disposition.
Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”
Maria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.