#brownale – PorchDrinking.com
Ah, ’tis season of winter beers. As the days and nights turn colder in the northern parts of the nation, the bite in the air invites us to turn from the lighter beers of summer to the bigger, bolder and richer beers designed to be sipped by the fire, enjoyed with hearty menus or served at warmer temperatures.
The three most popular winter styles, outside the realm of barrel-aging, involve stouts, porters and brown ales. While most can adequately describe stouts, the differences between porters and brown ales are often misunderstood. To better understand the styles, I asked some breweries in the St. Louis region to provide clarity on the topic.
Last Christmas, my extended relatives decided to gift me a few deliveries of The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Opening these mail packages felt like a relic of a different era when getting craft beer required more effort and planning. It can be a fun gift to give to the beer fan in your life when they’ve had everything at the supermarket. I’ve received beers from breweries in New York, Pennsylvania, and Iowa that I never heard about before, but the best beer to come from these shipments was Mt. Carmel Brewing Company’s Coffee Brown.
I can hear my mom on Thanksgiving Day yelling, “EJ, get in here! It’s time to eat!” But times have changed since then, so I better not hear that nickname today. For any future yellings, please refer to me as Eric.
So let’s imagine for a second that instead of a Thanksgiving turkey on a silver platter, there was a can of beer. But what would that beer be? And say for instance instead of a green bean casserole, you guessed it, another can of beer? What beer would take its place? This is the Ultimate 6er for Thanksgiving, just in case your food happens to be all beer.
Every other month PorchDrinking will be tackling a style profile. The idea being to get the word out and identify beers you can use to calibrate your senses to better enjoy the beer you consume. Beer can be a complex topic but worry not because PorchDrinking is here to show you the ropes – like an older brother or sister, only less abuse and more information.
Just like the weather, my palate is confused. Normally at this time of year I would like to be confidently making headway through my stash of last year’s stouts. When I wake up in the morning, I’d love for the house to be cold. I’d love for the last residue at the bottom of the dirty beer glasses on the counter to resemble motor oil. However, Mother Nature seems to be confused. Here in Arkansas we’ve barely had our first freeze and afternoon temps are still climbing in to the 70’s. I can’t make up my mind when paroozing the aisles of my liquor store or the taps at my favorite watering holes. The crisp and easy drinking/sessionable beers of the summer are long since in my rear view but I can’t bring myself to pull out the good stuff and dive headlong into stout season. The solution for a seasonally confused Arkansas beer drinker when you need something local to quench your thirst? Look no further than Fossil Cove Brewing Co.’s La Brea Brown Ale.
ABV: 4.7% | IBU: 29
It’s cliché but sometimes you want a beer that you can drink in the fall while wearing a flannel. Maybe you’re wearing brown boots, maybe you’re sitting on a haystack or maybe you’re just sitting on your back porch on a sunny, somewhat warm afternoon.
Summer time is here, and aside from the scorching heat and long anticipated summer nights, I sometimes crave a darker style beer to balance the light lagers and pale ales that have come to be the norm. On this particular day I was in the mood for a beer I’ve had my eye on for awhile, the Rigor Mortis from Dieu du Ciel out of Canada. One thing I know is that everything I’ve had from this brewery rocks my socks, and I couldn’t help but be drawn toward their Abbey-style brown ale.
Reuben’s Brews was one of the first breweries I covered when I began writing about craft beer and has always been one of my favorite taprooms to visit, so I have happily monitored their rapid growth into a well-recognized force within the Seattle craft beer scene and beyond. Reuben’s opened in August 2012 but, thanks to a delicious and award-winning rotating beer list, they reached brewing capacity within six months. This lead the team at Reuben’s to begin looking for a location in which to expand their operations two years ago, and they opened the doors to their new, spacious brewery and taproom on May 9 of this year. I stopped by the brewery to pay homage to my roots as a craft beer writer – and to sample one of their rotating brews, the American Brown.
ABV: 5.2% | IBU: 24
I love when I’m browsing the North Carolina section of my local bottle shop and an assortment of unfamiliar beers from the same brewery appear before my eyes. Such was my experience this past weekend. Usually, I wonder …
ABV: 6.0% | IBU: 38
If you have been as busy as I have been, going from meeting to meeting, email after email, and working past 5 most days, you need fuel. Now most of us have probably exasperated our coffee …
One day, Uinta Brewery (you-INN-tah, to be perfectly clear on pronunciation), nestled between the Salt Lake City metro area and The Great Salt Lake itself, brewed a toasty, warm and earthen brown ale. It was delicious, and they christened it “Bristlecone” after the mighty, ancient alpine tree.
Thanks to football season, I spend a lot of time talking with the Lord in the fall. “JESUS F*CKING CHRIST!” I screamed when the Iowa kickers cost us the game against Iowa State. “Goddamn that was too close” when we beat Pitt 20-24 in September. But mostly I am huddled in a corner muttering “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD” whenever Kirk Ferentz goes for it on 4th. Luckily for me (and all Iowa fans) we have Mark Weisman, our personal Hebrew Hammer of a running back who saves our drives on a continual basis. In honor of Iowa’s own savior, I thought it was time to introduce the PorchDrinking community to He’brew, the Chosen beers made by Shmaltz Brewing company.
Hop on board the crazy train with a yummy Madtown Nutbrown from Ale Asylum. (See what I did there? Hop? Ha ha ha! I slay me!) Ale Asylum is one of the many great craft endeavors coming out of Wisconsin. …
Having just gone to the Cincy Winter Beerfest the evening before, I had a plethora of beers from which to choose for this review; however, there was a beer on hand that I have been waiting to open since Christmas, a gift from my brother in-law, who also has a predilection for good beers and a gives the best gifts: Trappist Achel Extra Brune.
Mmmm… Brown Ale. You had me at hello.
Brown Ale may or may not be the key to my heart. I do love most beers – yes- but I will never turn down something specifically classified as a “Brown Ale”.