So the brown ale trials have not been going perfectly. Good beer, just not quite the right look, maybe a little too flavor dense. Which means it’s time to drink some brown ale made by professionals and see exactly where my benchmarks are. I should’ve started this way buuuuut what can I say? I just figured I could step into the ring and work it out.
Which hasn’t produced terrible results! However, a smart person knows when to get more data. Which means it’s time to drink the first professionally made brown ale I can find: Cascade Lake’s 20 Inch Brown ale.
This brown ale provides a roast note in the nose. Nothing severe but certainly enough to distinguish the ale from a lager, IPA, or even some reds.
As for the drinking qualities, the lightness is what really stands out; yes, there’s a bit of chocolate, a flavor that ordinarily would be associated with richness and density but here it’s just enough to provide something more to a beer that doesn’t have a high ABV, doesn’t have a bunch of hops, doesn’t even have a high roast quality.
As the 20 Inch finishes out there is a creamy feel to it, softening everything out. Again, this is a nice way to finish this beer that isn’t pushing hops, yeast or malt. It’s pleasant, drinkable and with just enough flavor going on that you won’t feel like you’re drinking anything thin.
That’s the real trick to brown ales: you get just enough flavor support to enjoy the beer, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed by it.
Also, this makes me look forward to continuing to brew this style. If I can nail this down, that will be pretty cool.