Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brown’s Cherry Raspberry Ale (aka "Cherry Razz")


3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (1196) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 12, 2014
Brown’s has been making their Cherry Raspberry Ale for years, and I’ve had it on tap many times. I’ve never given it a formal review until now as it was difficult (and expensive) to buy before the recent opening of their new production brewery (everything had been bottled manually in the basement of their taproom until now). This bottle replicates the tap experience quite well, as this is indeed a fun fruit beer to drink.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a mason jar. There was no freshness date and it cost $2.60 ($0.22 per ounce).

Appearance: Pretty magenta/light brown hue, translucent. Pours to a small, off-white, soapy head which mostly dissipates and leave no lacing.

Smell: Jam-like aroma of red cherry and raspberries.

Taste: The thing about fruit beers is that they’re kind of the beer equivalent of alcopops since the fruit character tends to override the base brew (though that’s true of traditional lambics, too). In the case of Brown’s Cherry Raspberry Ale it’s a beer that delivers as the name suggests: plenty of cherry/raspberry sweetness and that’s about it. Slightly tart at first, but becomes a little richer-tasting towards the end. It’s probably made with puree rather than whole fruit, and it certainly tastes that way. There’s no soda-like quality of artificial/chemical flavoring here. The base brew appears to be something in the amber or brown ale styles, as there’s a light bready character here. The hops are faint if they are noticeable at all. While not quite as delicious as some of the better examples of the genre, this one is still pretty enjoyable.

Drinkability: Getting down a glass of Brown’s Cherry Raspberry Ale is no challenge whatsoever (not that it should be, though). The mouthfeel is thin and calm with a smooth texture and finish to match. It leaves a mostly clean aftertaste, which is a tad disappointing as these are the kinds of flavors you’d prefer to linger. At 6.5% ABV it’s seems rather inefficient as this beer drinks like something in the more overtly sessionable range. I’d expect a little more robustness and complexity to a brew this strong. Regardless, it works fine as a liquid dessert or standalone beverage (or blend it with their oatmeal stout for an interesting experience). 
Grade: 7/10