I recently commented that I was finally beginning to appreciate some of the subtler points of brewing after noticing a similarity between all the India Pale Ales I like. However, I’m also noticing a trend among those I dislike as well as the beers that fall somewhere in between the two. Brown’s India Pale Ale is a good example of these brews that fall between the cracks, so to speak. It has a good taste and composition overall, but I’ve had much better and can’t help but think this one could’ve been one of them.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Brown’s pours very smoothly to a dark orange/light brown, cloudy body. It forms a perfectly-proportioned, foamy, off-white head that never dissipates and leaves quite a lot of lacing on the glass.
The aroma was strongly floral, which means it’s a heavily hopped beer. However, it didn’t have the citrus-like quality of a lot of my favorite IPAs and its scent is reminiscent of the syrup-like IPAs I have encountered.
Not having tried anything from Brown’s Brewery I had no idea what to expect from their IPA. From the scent I was concerned this would be another butterscotch-flavored IPA like Sea Dog and Dogfish Head, but fortunately this was not the case.
My favorite types of IPAs tend to have a very tart, yet sweet and strongly bitter flavor. Brown’s didn’t necessarily fall into any of these categories, yet it wasn’t one of the syrupy IPAs I have encountered. It fell somewhere in between with a significant bitter taste but without the sweetness or tartness I look for in an IPA. In fact, its taste was almost salty or dirty in a way, but not nearly as bad as Harpoon’s IPA.
I have to give it credit for having such an original taste that’s difficult to classify, but I would have preferred something a little more delectable.
Although Brown’s IPA had just the slightest bit of coarseness to its taste I have to admit it went down very smooth. I’ve found that even the most bitter IPAs tend to finish as clean as the lightest “lite” beer and Brown’s was no exception.
Had I known Brown’s IPA was as potent as it was, I might have proceeded with more caution before drinking it. This beer is 6.5% ABV, and likely 200 calories or more per serving (information not available on brewer’s website). Beers of the IPA style are usually a little more alcoholic than your mass-market lager, but drinking a bottle of this beer really overwhelmed me, not in terms of weight but in terms of potency.
I hate to criticize a hometown brew (Brown’s is located right across the Hudson River from me in Troy, NY), but I would have preferred a tastier, lighter IPA. This is a professional beer-drinker’s beer, which I appreciate as a connoisseur. However, I think Brown’s is adequate and could be enjoyed by those with less discriminating tastes than me.