brown ale gets a bad rap as boring, which I’ve never understood because
it can be a very tasty style while still having a mild palate. Captain
Lawrence Brown Bird Ale is proof positive of this as it has a great
balance of sweet (but not cloying) maltiness, and pronounced (but not
extreme) hop bitterness.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance: Dark brown/chestnut body - not quite opaque, but hardly
transparent. Forms a large, tan, frothy head but it doesn’t retain or
lace all that well.
Smell: Brown ale sweetness of confectionery aromas, plus a light, floral hop scent.
Taste: Captain Lawrence Brown Bird Ale definitely has the confectionery
sweet flavors going for it: toffee, caramel, and hazelnut coffee
creamer. Yet it doesn’t assault the palate - it’s more of a subtle
pub-style real ale. The difference being hops are more noticeable here
than your average American or English brown ale. A quick burst of dry
bitterness comes through in the second half and again in the aftertaste.
A very light coffee-style bitterness perfectly complements the hazelnut
flavor found in the malty component of the palate. There’s even a
subtle cola or root beer taste. There are other brown ales with a more
deliberately energetic palate, but the laid back approach really works
Drinkability: I was very surprised to learn that Captain Lawrence Brown
Bird Ale is only 4.8% ABV. The palate seems a little too robust and
complex for something that small, but that makes the drinkability factor
all the more impressive. With a medium body, slightly thin mouthfeel,
and creamy texture, this beer is easy to throw back quickly and easily
considering how smoothly it goes down. There’s little aftertaste, so it
doesn’t wear you out. It’s a beer that could be enjoyed by drinkers of
all experienced levels.