3.7AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
My favorite beer of all time is Newcastle Brown Ale, and as much as I like the brown ale style, I’ve yet to find an American counterpart that can compare. Brooklyn Brown Ale comes remotely close with a sweet, crisp taste, but I think it could have been even better.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Right out of the bottle Brooklyn Brown Ale pours extremely smooth without the slightest kickback. It forms a tan, fizzy head which is a little less than average in size and fizzles away quickly like a glass of soda. It also appears highly carbonated at first, but I noticed it flatted out as it sat.
The body is more of a blood red color than a proper brown, although dark copper might be a more apt description. The scent is overall quite sweet and malty, but there isn’t a very distinctive aroma, just the slightest notion of toasted malts.
I like my brown ales to either be very sweet or very robust. Brooklyn Brown Ale seems to fall somewhere in between. It definitely has a sweet, malty palate but with a hint of bitter, smokiness to the taste. The label indicates notes of chocolate and coffee, which I detected, but they were quite mild.
In fact, what keeps this beer from being outstanding instead of just plain good is the taste is a little too mild. Although it’s typical for brown ales to have this characteristic, Brooklyn probably could’ve been even stronger-tasting.
The good thing about a mild beer is its drinkability and Brooklyn Brown Ale is extremely smooth. Although there definitely are some noticeable hops to the palate, it goes down like a glass of flat soda.
I have no problems with a full-bodied beer as long as it’s proportional to its style. I might almost accuse Brooklyn Brown Ale of being a little overweight because it’s not quite as dark of a beer as its name implies. For a beer with 5.6% ABV and probably upwards of 200 calories (information wasn’t available on the brewer’s website), I’d like just a little more taste to go with the body.
Since Brooklyn states right on the label that this beer is intended to be different from its English forebears, I cannot criticize it for its differences. It does stand on its own as a quality niche product from a microbrewery, as it tastes good and finishes clean.