Whether we want to admit it, the weather for better or worse is only going to get colder. Now is the time, when men pack their shorts and short sleeves away for the winter, while women do the same. It's a time of flipping the script regarding the colors on the walls and outdoors. A time when brown, orange, yellow, and black aren't just Halloween colors, but are colors of Fall and Winter.
It's also a time to leave the comfort of the patio for the warmth of the hearth, while sipping on something complex and satisfying. It's during this time of the year that people should ponder less on alcoholic quantity and more on the lasting flavor of a beer over a lengthy conversation. Some would say that the English know a thing or two, but then again, brewers from both continents have been telling us that for decades (if not centuries).
With styles like ESB, Porter, Stout, and Old Ale, it's not hard to see why light lager and non-strong ale drinkers enjoy this low alcohol beers. ABV ranges often waffle between 2.8 and 4.5 with one thing certain, you can drink many of these over many hours.
Around these parts there is a brewer that enjoys many a pint of ale and chose to celebrate this style of beer. Located in Bothell, Jim Jamison at Foggy Noggin Brewing, has been producing low alcohol ales for the Puget Sound since 2009.
Recently he released a new ale to the masses, to celebrate colder temps, when overcast skies force many indoors. Named Butch's Brew, this brown ale stokes the imaginative inspiration, to seek out the comfort of a warm blanket and rest on a couch or read a good book in front of the fire.
Historically Brown Ales fell into two categories American or English in regards to what we Americans would taste. Today we focus on the English-style given Jim's attention to the UK.
Some historians that this beer was the descended from the same beer genome as the stout.
Today when one wants to enjoy an English-style / English Brown Ale, they can reach for a New Castle, Samuel Smith's, Wychwood Hobgoblin, or even an Avery Ellie's Brown Ale.
Butch's Brown Ale, is an Northern English Brown Ale, that is mahogany brown with a fair amount of clarity. As the beer rests in the glass, a thin off-white veil of foam rests on top, before it dies leaving hardly any lacing inside the glass.
Curious why so little lace rests in the glass we proceed to swirl the glass around before taking our first inhale, recalling something sweet with bits of toasted bread, slight hints of coffee, and minor sweet caramel elements.
Taking our first sip we are greeted an initial sweetness, before the sensation of toasted bread settles in, before it finishes nutty with minor bits of coffee. Overall this beer feels average (medium) on the tongue in regards to weight, but forgive your senses if this feels heavier.
Celebrating the fall harvest, Brown Ales have been a long awaited standard in the UK. Adding fresh roasted nuts to this rich beer, added an extra special character that only the finest breweries produced. Foggy Noggin embraces this tradition with the celebration from the local Palouse Hills. This traditional English Brown, has locally grown Pacific NW Hazelnuts that have been freshly roasted and added to the mash. The result, a rich malt forward beer - with a wonderful medley of sweet flavors that linger long in a dry pleasing finish. Thanks Butch!
- OG: 1.052
- IBU: 28
- SRM: 20
- ABV: 3.5
- Malts: Maris Otter Pale Ale, Amber, Brown, Chocolate, Flaked Wheat, Flaked Oats, Roasted Hazelnuts
- Hops: Northern Brewer, Goldings
You Should Try This. For both aspiring brewers and brewers already established, the Brown Ale is a commonality to consume. However, there are some brewers that have even made a mistake of this ale (despite its reputation for masking imperfections).
Butch's Brown Ale would make a great addition, to the dinner table or bar top, wherever a conversation can be held. If food is what you crave after reading this review, then try this beer with some Camembert, Fontina, Asiago, Colby, Parmesan or maybe with some Pork, Buffalo, or Lamb.
About the photo’s author
Paul “Fruit Trees” Orchard, is an amateur craft beer enthusiast and amateur photographer. Throughout the many years in craft beer he is always carrying a camera (smartphone, digital, traditional) and is invites you to see that beer can also be exciting even if you can’t drink the photo.
In accordance with new FTC regulations regarding bloggers and endorsements, the aforementioned company has provided me a free sample that was used for research prior to writing this review.