Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brown's Pale Ale

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (742) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 8, 2010
UPDATED: OCT 20, 2012 I like hoppy beers like pale ales and IPAs because they tend to be crisp and clean and have more genuine flavor than lagers. However, some are so strongly-flavored they become a little too robust for their own good. Brown’s Pale Ale is a good example of this as it has the usual makings of a strong pale ale, but might be a little too strong for some drinkers.


Brown’s pours smoothly and forms a perfectly-proportioned slightly off-white, foamy head which lingers throughout the life of the beer and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The liquid itself is a cloudy copper color, reminiscent of passion fruit juice. The aroma is quite strong with floral, hoppy character. Although the nose here indicates something bitter, not sweet or tart.


I’ve been told that as I progress as a beer critic my palate will become more sensitive, but I think that’s true of my sense of smell since I was able to take an educated guess as to the taste of this beer from its aroma alone. And much like the smell, Brown’s Pale Ale is indeed bitter but not tart.

This is one of the strongest pale ales I’ve ever encountered with a thick, heavy mouthfeel and flavors of caramel noticeable. In fact, I might even describe the taste as being just the slightest bit dirty or salty. But at least you can’t accuse this brew of being weak or flat. I prefer beers of this sort to be tart, bitter and crisp. When they have a noticeably rich sweetness to the point of being syrup-like, it throws me off.


Although the actual mouthfeel is pronounced and the taste has a strong hop bite, Brown’s Pale Ale is actually quite smooth going down and is not difficult to drink at all. Hoppy beers such as this often have a coarse finish but this is fairly smooth.


I purposely drank this beer with a spicy dinner and found it complimented the taste well, but definitely felt heavy on my system. A few hours later, the second bottle by itself also felt a bit weighty; although at no point did I feel overwhelmed. This beer is 5.5% ABV which is normal for a pale ale, so if drank in moderation it shouldn’t be a challenge for most drinkers.


As much as I appreciate a strongly-flavored beer, Brown’s Pale Ale might be a bit too strong for its good. If this were an IPA I could understand, but as it stands it’s a little more than I look for in a pale ale. Still, I’d rather a brewer err on the strong side rather than weak side, so this beer is definitely respectable.

Grade: 6/10

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