I have to admit that I'm not a fan of brown ales. Never have been. I love English Porters. I love Ambers/Reds. But the brown, nut or otherwise, have never been a great love. In fact, they have been the opposite of love. The brown ale is one of those styles that I've just never been able to get with. But, like many styles that I don't like - I keep trying them anyway, because you never know.
So, when I was out the other night and met the Sixpoint rep, I was excited to try the Sixpoint Crisp (a pilsner much in the style of the inimitable Victory Prima Pils). Jake (that's the name of the Sixpoint rep, by the way) then recommended that I try to the Brownstone. While I reluctantly obliged, I warned him that I'm not a fan of the brown ale.
At the time I had a sampler glass, so I had a sample. I can happily report that I was pleased with the results. Surprising not only Jake (who, really, wasn't all that surprised) but me.
Appearance: A healthy, dense, tan foamy head sits regally on a body of tanned leather; the lacing is very pretty.
Aroma: I could smell the hops and brown sugar as it poured out of the can. The typical American aroma hops are front and center while the malt slips through cracks and smells of ginger snap cookies and multi-grain bread
Flavor: The hops are, again, front and center but the malt sweetness, caramel flavors, and slight nuttiness come through strongly in the finish
Body: A nice strong medium-ish body, the finish is a mixture of the hoppy resin and the caramel malts which leaves a nice, sweet, residual flavor but is never cloying
Drinkability: A typical fall-time beer; you probably aren't going to drink 8 of them, but 3 of them while gathered around a bonfire is certainly within the realm of possibility
Summary: Finally! A brown ale I can get with! This will definitely be in a regular rotation, and would fit right in with some of my other favorite fall and winter brews such as Surly's Furious, Bear Republic's Black Bear Stout, and Augustiner Doppelbock.