Friday, March 16, 2012

Bear Republic/Fat Head's/Stone Collaboration: TBA Brown Ale

Type: American Brown Ale
Origin: San Diego, CA (made at Stone)
Price: $2.99/12 oz
ABV: 7.1%
NSP: 8.43 (unscaled)

Here comes another collaboration beer from Stone. While we frequently rip on them in this space for being snobby, I'll give them credit for putting in the effort to partner with other brewers around the country to make a bunch of good beer.

At this point, you could slap the name Bear Republic (Healdsburg, CA) on a bag of moldy ferret shit and I'd consider buying it. Stone's (San Diego) reputation is, of course, well known. I admit I don't know anything about Fat Head's (Cleveland, OH) other than the fact that they share a name with those big-ass cardboard cutout things high school kids put on their walls to show how much they love BronBron or Pujols. Too bad if you bought a Pujols one last year, now you have to get a new one.

The bottle says this is a Texas Brown Ale (hence TBA) brewed with brown sugar and molasses. I decided to look up Texas Brown Ale, to see if it was a legit style or something somebody just pulled out of their ass, and I found this (and, later on, this), which makes it sound like a bit of both. I originally called it a brown IPA, because it smells like a brown ale and an IPA did a bunch of sake bombs and went back to IPA's hotel room, and nine months later brown ale fired this little bastard out. But when I taste it, it's not really that at all...and I had forgotten that they already did a brown IPA. The brown ale flavors are there (though they're heavily dominated by pinecone IPA flavors), but there's very little of the sugary sweetness of most brown ales, just a touch on the end. And it finishes pretty cleanly, also not a feature of most brown ales.
The molasses and brown sugar are noticeable, but also sort of an afterthought, it seems, because the hops just stomp around and bellow.

I'm not sure what to make of this. I mean, there's a lot of really nice, complex flavors in it. And I also dig that they pulled a relatively obscure style out of the attic. But it also doesn't seem like much of a stretch for Stone (as opposed to La Citrueille and the Green Tea IPA), in that it doesn't seem like that much of a departure from the Bastard series. And it's a little bit too close to an English/East Coast IPA for me to start trumpeting about how good it is. But it was also gone by the time I finished writing this review, so I obviously didn't mind it too much. Whatever. Keep rolling the collabs out, Stone, and we'll keep drinking.

1 comment:

  1. Randy and I had this at Regal a few weeks back. Brown ales are so much better when they are dry!