#324 8 Wired – Double Coffee Brown Ale

8 Wired Double Coffee Brown Ale Name: Double Coffee Brown Ale
Brewery: 8 Wired, made with C4 beans
Style: Coffee Brown Ale
Source: O’Carrolls Freehouse
ABV: 8%

Woah woah woah, stop the press. It’s a new beer from 8 Wired!

OK so it’s not brand new. And yeah everyone else has probably Untappd, Tweeted and Instagrammed it already, but I’m a bit behind the 8-Wired ball (*high-fives self*) and only learned of it’s existence when I saw it in O’Carrolls last week.

Like most people, I function at the level of a half-witted sloth before my first cup of coffee, and don’t become my usual self (a half-witted human) until I’ve had two. And yet, for some reason I’m not so jazzed about coffee beers. At the risk of sounding like I haven’t had my morning dose yet, I think it’s because they always taste so much like coffee. They’re sort of a bit obvious, you know?

But then – with everything there are exceptions, and you can count on Soren to have brewed one of them.

The coffee aroma was so fresh, like I was putting my nose in a bag of just-roasted beans, with subtle notes of chocolate and caramel lurking underneath. In the mouth it straddled the line between sweet malt and bitter coffee perfectly, but what really blew me away was the mouthfeel. So syrupy smooth, like chocolate milk, and punctuated by a gently roasty bitterness at the finish. It was the kind of beer you want to keep gulping just to feel it glide down your throat.

Half-way through drinking this, the O’Carrolls monthly quiz night started up and me and my friend decided to play. Our team, “Stephen Hawking’s Football Boots”, came second to last, so I wonder if all the alcohol in this beer might have reversed the usual effects of coffee and made us more sluggish. Or if that doesn’t sound plausible, it’s because there were only two of us, and they asked way too many questions about cricket.

Published in: on July 12, 2012 at 1:19 pm  Comments (4)  

#300 Bear Republic – Pete Brown Tribute Ale

Name: Tribute Ale
Brewer: Bear Republic (Healdsburg, California USA)
Style: American Brown Ale
ABV: 6.5%
Source: Galbraith’s Alehouse

Whoops, that was close.

I was about to make a total ass of myself by banging on about Pete Brown, the famous beer writer who I assumed this beer was named after, but I’ve just realised it was a different Pete Brown entirely – a popular sales rep for Bear Republic who died in 2002. (Hence the 1949- 2002 on the label. I did think it was a bit odd/sinister that they would imply the writer was dead when he’s clearly still blogging.)

Anyway, instead I’ll just make a mild ass of myself by admitting that once again I managed to half-freeze an expensive American beer. It wasn’t quite at the slushy stage, but if you look closely at the photo you can see little ice chunks floating beneath the foam. I then stuck it in front of the heater before I drank it, which made the glass extremely hot and the beer inside lukewarm.

Despite having suffered some serious temperature abuse, the lovely sticky brown sugar/toffee/roasted malt flavours of this beer remained intact. There was something very coke-like about it actually – partly from the bubbles, and partly the combination of sweet caramello, fruit and bitter roasty malts. If it had been colder it would have been more refreshing, but I can hardly blame the beer for that now can I?

Published in: on June 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

#192 Shmaltz Brewing – He’Brew Messiah Gold

He'Brew Messiah BoldName: Messiah Gold
Brewery: Shmaltz Brewing Co. (San Fransico, USA)
Style:  American Brown Ale
ABV: 5.6%
Source: The Beer Store

When I first heard about the He’Brew line of beers from Shmaltz I knew that I needed to have one – but in all honesty I didn’t expect much.

I thought they wouldn’t be that great because they didn’t need to be. I mean – they’re one of the only certifier kosher beers around, their labels are funny and celebrate all that is Jewish, and the name contains A BRILLIANT PUN. Surely there’d be enough Jews and pun-lovers out there who would seek this beer out purely for its novelty value?

Well maybe they would (I know I did), but this Messiah Bold was a decent beer, regardless.

It poured dark brown with a tan head and smelled really malty – toasty and toffeeish, with some raisins, espresso and dark chocolate too.

In the mouth it was sweet and malty with a little roasty bitterness and spice at the finish. The mouthfeel was fairly full and smooth, with lively carbonation.

Overall, it didn’t knock my socks off but I’d definitely go back there again (and not just for the pun). L’chaim!

Published in: on February 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

#83 8 Wired – ReWired

8 Wired ReWiredName: ReWired
Brewery: 8 Wired (Blenheim, New Zealand)
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 5.7%
Source: Victoria Park new World

I thought I’d mix things up a bit on Sunday and actually eat my beer instead of drinking it – but I did save a splash just so that I could be 100% sure it tasted OK.

It did. It tasted really OK in fact. The last time I had this I’d been drinking Armageddons and Hopwireds beforehand, and unsurprisingly this seemed a bit dull afterwards. On a fresh palate though it was totally different – malty and spicy with sweet chocolate/caramel notes as well as some bitter, citrussy hops.

I was slightly reluctant after I’d drunk half a glass, but I did manage to pour the rest in the pan to make a chicken in Brown Ale stew. It was inspired by this recipe from The Good Stuff blog, and it uses smoked garlic which I just happened to have bought at the Taste festival. Good god that stuff is good! I’m a massive garlic fiend and I love smoky flavours (especially in beer) so I’m planning to make some more using mum’s homegrown garlic and her fish smoker.

Stupidly I forgot to get a picture of the stew, but it came out really well – I swear. Even after a couple of hours simmering with tomatoes and the garlic and herbs and what-not, it still had a really distinctive Brown Ale flavour, sweet and rich and beery. Karrggghhhhh.*

The only slight dissapointment was that the garlic (I used a whole bulb) didn’t lend as much of a smoky flavour as I was hoping. Perhaps I should  make this again with a Rauchbier?

*Homer Simpson drool.

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 1:57 pm  Comments (4)  

#72 Emerson’s – Brownville Brown

Name: Brownville Brown
Brewery: Emerson’s (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Style: Brown Ale
ABV:  5.8%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

Considering brown is my least favourite colour (followed closely by teal), I was wondering whether I could ever love a Brown Ale called Brownville Brown that arrived in a brown bottle and poured the colour of… brown.

But of course I could! Because I was going to drink the damn thing after all and not spray it all over my house as interior decoration, and in fact I decided to embrace the colour –  drinking a few sips of ‘Dubbel Bruin’ (so watery! my god!) beforehand, and even matching the Brownville with a piece of chocolate brownie. I practically threw a damn Brown Festival!

Of course, anything would have tasted pretty great after the Double Brown, but it turned out the beer was much more interesting than the colour. It smelled sweet and complex. There was some fruity hoppiness, chocolate, and roasty malt flavours with a hint of espresso. On the palate it was sweet and caramelly for a moment, then almost tart as more bitter roasty flavours came through, and the finish was drying and clean.

I guess you could say it was a bit like paint. I mean it didn’t taste like paint thank god, but it was multifaceted – as if a kid had taken tubes of all the paint colours and squirted them on the pallette and mixed it all up to make… brown.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve been building web pages all morning and I’ve written the word ‘brown’ too many times and now I have about as much brain functionality as a chicken. No, as a chicken sandwhich. 

Just try this beer. It’s nice.

Published in: on October 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

#57 Baird – Angry Boy Brown Ale

Baird Angry Boy Brown AleName: Angry Boy Brown Ale
Brewery: Baird (Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan)
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: 6.2%
Source: Regional Wines (Wellington)

Me: Brown ale. Ugh. I hate brown ale.

*takes sip of Baird Angry Boy Brown Ale*

Me: Oh no wait, maybe I like brown ale.

That a little transcript of my thoughts (I’m a simple soul) as I went to drink yesterday’s beer. It’s becoming a regular thing, as every time I come to any kind of conclusion about a beer style, something comes along and turns it all upside down.

For example, I thought I didn’t like brown ale because the last two I’ve order have been a bit sweet and sluggish for me, so much so that I didn’t even finish them which is saying quite a lot. (I’m not a spittoon kinda gal.)

So I probably wouldn’t have picked this one (and in fact I didn’t – Kieran at Regionals did), but I’m glad I tried it because it was actually damn good.

It came in a bottle with super-cool artwork, and poured a hazy chocolaty-amber, with a loose, fluffy tan head.

The aroma took me by surprise – much more fragrant and hoppy than the brown ales I’ve had before. It smelled to me like caramel and citrus – mostly grapefruit I think.

On the tongue there was an initial hit of sweetness – malt, toffee, chocolate, then a burst of citrusy hops (I guess that’s the angry bit) which carries through to a lasting dry finish. Carbonation was quite low and the mouthfeel was velvety and smooth.

This is definitely the hoppiest and (I think) the most interesting brown ale that I’ve tried, but then again, I really haven’t had many at all. Can anyone recommend some others?

And now, here’s a video of me as a baby.

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 10:41 am  Comments (4)