I’m off to Vermont today to see my family. I only get to see my family a couple of times a year, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m also looking forward to the case of beer that my mother is giving me for my birthday. Every spring she and my step father go to North Carolina to spend time with their grandson (my step-nephew). Starting last year moms and I came up with the idea to bring back beer for my bday present. Pretty much best idea…EVER. If you want to see some of the beers I got last year, check out the beer catalog and look for the line of beers from Carolina Brewing. I need to run…about to hit the road for the 3.5 hour trip to Vermont. You have the helm Silvio.
A quick note of apology to LIBA readers who were expecting a dual white beer review, and to Josh who reviewed the Kiuchi Hitachino Nest White Ale yesterday expecting two white reviews in two days. I got caught up at an after work event and by the time I got home, I’d had several “scouting” beers and wasn’t in any shape to do a proper review. Fortunately I usually do a review or two during the week as insurance, so I’ll fall back on an interesting beer I reviewed Thursday night with a iron-clad promise to have the two whites ready next Saturday.
As anyone who knows me well can attest, I’ve got a major sweet tooth. Seriously – cookies, candy, cake, whatever – if it’s got sugar, or even better, brown sugar, I’m in. So when I saw the Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale, with a picture of a miner pouring maple syrup into a keg, I thought “sweet sweetness, a beer flavored with brown sugar – get in my belly!” Or something like that. Regardless, it was on.
Not really sure what to expect, I was a little underwhelmed by the pour. There’s pretty much no foam, with a thin consistency and no visible carbonation. The color was quite interesting though, a translucent brown-red hue reminiscent of maple syrup. The aroma lived up to its billing, with a sweet maple background on top of your typical brown ale smell. I expected to be drinking alcoholic pancake syrup within seconds.
However, this beer wasn’t nearly as sweet as I expected. The dominant flavor is a nutty, earthy flavor in line with any standard brown ale. It’s sweet and rich, but I didn’t really get the maple taste. Hints of brown sugar are really evident in the background on subsequent sips, and that sugary sweetness gets stronger with subsequent sips after it’s been in the glass for a while. Of note, this beer has hardly any aftertaste, and a low ABV at 4.5%
While sweet-teeth or pancake-and-syrup lovers may be a little let down, this is a really good beer for a casual beer drinker. It’s a solid brown nut ale, much tastier than the Brooklyn Brown or Troeg’s Rugged Trail Nut Brown Ales, and the sweetness is a pleasant departure from standard browns. I’d definitely recommend trying one out, and would stick a few of these into a future mixed six for non-review drinking. The Tommyknocker brewery looks quite interesting too, with 14 Western-themed beers brewed at their Idaho Springs, Colorado location.