99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog – Stevens Point Burly Brown

Brown ales are an under-appreciated class of beers. They don’t get attention because they don’t push the extremes. They aren’t as hoppy as India Pale Ales, they aren’t as dark as porters or stouts, and they aren’t as malty as the higher scotch ales. When well-crafted, though, they find that sweet spot, that balance, that makes them truly special.

Stevens Point Burly Brown is, unfortunately, not one of the greats. Pouring a dark copper, the brilliantly clear beer comes in at the light end of the color guidelines for a proper American Brown. The aroma, though, is superb – malty with just a tingle of hops, and a bit of chocolate.

The flavor is surprisingly soft, though. The scent’s promise of a rich, malty beer is not fully delivered by the beer itself. Instead, you get a light-bodied, rather bland caramel taste, without the roasty or chocolate notes that add some backbone to a well-made brown ale.

The hops of a typical American brown ale were absent along with the darker malts. While a brown ale should never by dominated by hops, a great one will demonstrate the brewer’s ability to use hop bitterness to balance the malt, and hop flavor to add piquant zestiness to the malt. Point’s Burly Brown just doesn’t go there – a restrained hand with the hops manages to avoid cloying sweetness, but fails to deliver any excitement.

It’s not a bad beer at all. I might like it more if it were labeled as an amber ale – it’s really a lighter beer in color, taste and body than I expect from a well-made brown. There are certainly better brown ales out there; try Abita Turbo Dog or Moose Drool.

One Response to “99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog – Stevens Point Burly Brown”

  1. bigsmithdude says:

    glad to see i'm not the only one favoring moose drool these days. :)

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