Tag Archives: Brown Ale

276. Woodstock Inn Brewery Pigs Ear Brown Ale

This is one of the breweries I plan to visit this week on the way back from Vermont so I decided to try their flagship beer – Pig’s Ear Brown Ale. Love the name and the label.

Color is brown with tinges of red and a nice single finger tan head. Aroma is faint with some malts and maybe a hint of hops. Taste is what you expect from a brown ale, almost all malt, caramel and to a lesser extent; chocolate and coffee. Easy to drink and quite refreshing for a brown ale. Good example of the style but not as good as Sebago Boat House Brown or Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
Pros: Easy to drink and solid malt character
Alcohol Content: 4.3% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 25
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Woodstock Inn Brewery
Brewers Description: Pigs Ear Brown Ale won Grand National Champion for brown ales at the United States Beer Tasting Championships in 2004 and 2006. Medium bodied with a balance of roasted and crystal malts creating a hearty nutty flavor. Medium bitterness with a slightly sweet finish.

153. Boatswain H.L.V. Ale

This is the third and final beer from Trader Joe’s in Portland. 2 of them are exclusive to Trader Joes and unlike the Hefeweizen reviewed previously this one may not have been worth the $2.50 I paid for it. The color is a great dark brown almost black, aroma is not all that pleasant with some malt and hops. Taste is a bit bland with nothing that really stands out. Decent alcohol content so after a 22 oz bottle you certainly feel it. A cheap buzz but not much else from this one.
Pros: High ABV
Cons: Bland
Alcohol Content: 7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Brewers Website:
Brewers Description: 

131. Penobscot Bay Red Flannel Ale

This is a new brewery for me and one that I had not even heard of before finding this beer at Florian’s Market in Auburn. This one pours a great dark brown – could almost pass for Pepsi, minimal head with some nice sweet malt/caramel aroma. Taste is pretty sweet with plenty of complex flavors including plenty of malt, caramel, toffee and a bit of maple in there. Finishes clean with minimal hop bite. This is a solid offering from a small brewer, if you can find this one in store than you should certainly give it a try.
Pros: Complex flavor, the right amount of sweet
Cons: Hard to find
Alcohol Content: ??% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Penobscot Bay Brewery
Brewers Description: Red flannels keep you warm and so will this hearty ale. Mostly Pale malt but full bodied and flavor from the Special B. Roasted Barley and Munich for color. There is a sweet aroma followed by rich, malty flavors with added notes of Perle hops for bittering. Best enjoyed slowly and at cellar temperature. Drink some now, and lay some aside for the future.

68. Shipyard Brewer’s Brown Ale

It seems that all Shipyard beer have a very similar flavor. Not sure if they use the same hops across all styles of their beer but there seems to be a common flavor. I enjoy brown ales but this had to be one of my least favorite. Pours a dark brown as you would expect with a slight head that disappeared quickly. Aroma is OK but nothing special. Overall this was a disappointment which seems to be my experience with Shipyard beer.
Pros: Color
Cons: Lots of malt flavor
Alcohol Content: 5.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Shipyard
Brewers Description: A full-bodied, dark brown ale made with 5 different malts and 3 varieties of hops. This bee has a nice, smokey taste up front and a smooth, full body finishing with a crisp hop bite at the back.

61. Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

This is the second best Brown Ale that I have reviewed following only the Sebago Brewing Boathouse Brown and comparing the 2 probably is not fair as I had the Sebago on draft after a great day of golf and this one from a bottle after a long day of work. The only downside to this one is the color as it does not look like your typical brown ale. Aroma, taste, head are all great and it leaves a nice lace on the glass. I have been very impressed with Smuttynose and will have to find some of the beer on tap in the near future.
Pros: Smooth, no aftertaste
Cons:  Color (I expect a brown ale to be darker)
Alcohol Content: 5.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 15
Rating: ★★★½☆
Brewers Website: Smuttynose Brewery
Brewers Description: Winner of a Silver Medal at the 1989 Great American Beer Festival. AWARDED BEST BROWN ALE IN THE NORTHEAST – 8th Annual US Beer Tasting Championship Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped. Old Brown Dog has been around for many years. It was first brewed in 1988 at the Northampton Brewery. In 1989 it won a silver medal in its category (American Brown Ale) at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

42. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

According to Dogfish’s website this is a blend of a Scotch Ale, IPA and Brown Ale and it certainly makes for an interesting combination. Seems closer to a brown ale but does have a fair amount of hoppiness to it.  Pours to a nice deep brown color with a tan head. The head disappeared very quickly and there was not a lot of carbonation. Very smooth to drink with complex flavors.
Pros: Very flavorful, easy to drink
Alcohol Content: 7.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 50
Rating: ★★★½☆
Brewers Website: Dogfish Head
Brewers Description: Forget about the car companies, this is the original hybrid, a cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale, and an American Brown. Our Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (magical). The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it; the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regiment of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion as our 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPAs. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar.

Food Pairing Recommendations: Balsamic vinaigrette salads, smoked meats, duck confit, braised ribs, venison, prosciutto, stews
Tasting Notes: molasses, coffee, ginger, raisinettes, chocolate

31. Geary’s Autumn Ale

I am surprised it took me 31 beers to get to a Geary’s as they are one of my favorite local brewers. The Autumn Ale reminded me a lot of the Sebago Brewing Boathouse Brown – both are locally brewed brown ales so I guess that makes sense. The color on this one is a deep red with a nice tan head, full of flavor but still very easy to drink. Great with a meal or all on its own.
Pros: Great dark color with lots of flavor
Cons: May be a little dark for some
Alcohol Content: 5.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): Unknown
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: D.L. Geary Brewing
Brewers Description: Geary’s Autumn Ale is a faithful interpretation of the classic brown ales of Great Britain. With a deep auburn color and a subtle nut-like flavor, Geary’s Autumn Ale is the perfect choice as the seasons change.
Original gravity: 1058
Ingredients: Two row English malt (clarity, crystal, chocolate and wheat); Cascade, Golding & Fuggle hops.

25. Sebago Brewing Boathouse Brown

Draft beer is simply better than bottled beer so it is no surprise that my highest ratings will go to those enjoyed straight from the keg or cask. I had this beer after a great round of golf at Belgrade Lakes Golf Course in Belgrade, Maine. The beer was better than the round of golf as that is one difficult course. Very dark but surprisingly easy to drink. Sebago’s website says it would pair well with grilled meat or steamed mussels and I would have to agree. This beer had just a hint of sweetness to it but no aftertaste. Some people may avoid this beer due to the dark color but don’t let it fool you it is easy to drink unlike some dark beer.
Pros: Smooth, great color and flavorful
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 24
Rating: ★★★★☆
Brewers Website: Sebago Brewing
Brewers Description: Boathouse Brown Ale is an easy drinking beer.  Peering through the glass you will find a deep mahogany color and luscious tan head.  The sweetness of the malt in our Brown Ale is offset by just enough kick from the hops.  Boathouse Brown Ale will be your “everyday” beer.  Pop the cap, pour it off and enjoy the ride!
Appearance: Deep mahogany color and luscious tan head
Flavor: The sweetness of the malt in our Brown Ale is offset by just enough kick from the hops.
Hops: Boathouse Brown Ale is a bite bolder then your average Brown Ale. We use ample amounts of Cascade and Mt. Hood hops to help balance the sweetness of the malt. This creates a very thirst quenching brown ale.  Bold enough for your palate yet low enough in alcohol for session drinking.
Malts: We use loads of rich caramel malt and black patent malt to give our brown ale it’s deep mahogany color and caramel tones.  The black malt helps create dry chocolate notes that balance well with the hops.

13. Gritty McDuff’s Best Brown Ale

For some reason this one does not appear on Gritty’s website. Thought maybe I had one too many before I started to write this post but I checked the bottle again and yes it is their Best Brown Ale. This beer is a very dark and hearty brew with tons of flavor and something that would go great with a plate of steak and potatoes. As I mentioned in a previous post Gritty’s from a bottle tastes almost the same as in the brew pub. If you enjoy dark beer with lots of flavor give this one a try. 
Pros: Great dark color and a variety of flavors
Cons: Hard to drink more than one

Alcohol Content: 4.1%
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 16
Rating: ★★★☆
Brewers Website: Gritty McDuff’s☆
Brewers Description: Gritty McDuff ‘s Best Brown Ale is  what the Brits call a fine session beer: a smooth ale, not too strong and full of flavor. Best Brown has a dark red-amber color; a full, round malt palate; nutty and roasted accents, and a delicate hop flavor that whispers with just a hint of floral finish. The perfect ale for a long afternoon in the pub with good friends and traditional fare.