I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. There was no freshness date. It cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Opaque, murky brown/black body. Initially poured to a
gigantic head. There’s sediment on bottom of the bottle so I’m assuming
it’s bottle conditioned? Doesn’t appear to be infected otherwise,
though. The tan, soda-like foamy head dissipated almost completely and
left no lacing.
Smell: Roasted malt plus peat scent, though not an aromatic beer per se.
Taste: I was nervous about drinking Olde Burnside Dirty Penny Ale when I
saw how it poured. However, it smelled fine and tasted fine (well… for
the most part). I don’t think this is an infected bottle, but if it is
it’s not that bad. The beer is a black and tan mixture of a Scottish Ale
and a "California-style stout" (whatever that is). Basically, it’s an
interesting pub-style beer. I think "interesting" the most apropos
descriptor since this isn’t a bad beer, but it’s far from a great one.
I’ve never had a black and tan of Scottish and stout, and considering
its low gravity it’s impressive it works as well as it does. That being
said, there does seem to be some astringency and tannins present that
impart a sharp, dry bitterness and a somewhat phenolic character. This
tastes like a homebrew and not a professional-grade beer. Still, the
flavors are pretty decent and I enjoy the sweetness and the interesting
use of flavor combinations. I could see this beer being good to
excellent when fresh on tap, but a mystery bottle doesn’t do it justice
(note to the brewery: please date your bottles).
Drinkability: At only 5% ABV, I think Olde Burnside Dirty Penny Ale is
intended to be a deliberately sessionable beer. The body is thin but
fizzy, though it finishes clean. It’s no trouble to get down, but
something about the mouthfeel just seems off to me.