This is the second brown ale of the week for me. Like I said with the first one, I like to drink the style of beer I’m going to be brewing before I brew it. I liked the offering from Flying Fish, but it was really dark and malty. I was hoping for something a little more light and refreshing. Delving into the area of brown ales has shown me just how very different the style can be. You know what you’re drinking when you get an IPA, Stout, or Porter. It would seem the brown ale is a little different from those particular styles. You can make a brown ale dark and malty like the last beer I tried, or you can make one light and refreshing like this offering from Anchor.
It’s interesting that this is the first time I’ve ever reviewed and Anchor beer on here. They claim to be the oldest craft brewery in America. Evidently they got started in 1849 when German brewer Gottlieb Brekle arrived in San Francisco for the California gold rush. Brekle started the brewery, ran, and operated it for 25 years before it was purchased by its next owners. Anchor hasn’t forgotten its roots though. If you haven’t made the connection as of yet, this particular brown has been brewed in honor of its founder and creator.
This particular brown stuck out to me at the store for a few different reasons. First it’s a brown ale, and I’ve already explained how I wanted drink a few brown ales. Secondly, I thought the description sounded interesting. The bottle stated it was a single hopped beer with an all malt base. The all malt base doesn’t exactly seem all that rare, but I was curious how the single hop characteristic nature affected the flavor of the beer. As far as I can tell, this isn’t an original Brekle’s recipe, but it is their homage to their founder.
This one pours out a very dark brown color that I would once again refer to more black than brown. I was hopping this beer was going to end up a little less sweet and malty than Exit 8, but the color had me a little concerned. It seems pretty similar to the deep dark color I got out of the last brown. There is an ample dark brown and tan head that develops on top of the beer. This results in some great lacing and excellent sticky residue as well. You can see some very light visible carbonation despite the dark color, but you can’t really get a feel for the clarity at all.
The aroma has two very dominant smells to it. First you can pull out some of the sweet chocolate notes, but you can also get a ton of the hops as well. I immediately looked up the hops to see what I was dealing with here. The single hop that is used in the brew is citra, and it’s quite obvious how much these hops come out. There is a very big lemony citrus aroma that comes out to combine with some big herbal piney smell. While the sweet malts and chocolate are very prevalent, the big hop aroma manages to win out in the battle of odor. There is a little bit of the roasted notes in the aroma as well.
The flavor starts with some very rich and well-balanced malt flavors. They aren’t too sweet which helped me realize I would already enjoy this beer for summer more than Exit 8. The hints of citrus come in with the very herbal hops. As the hops continue to develop, they give off a large quantity of lemon flavors. For a brown ale, it is overwhelmingly lemony and citrusy; however, it makes it perfect for a summer interpretation of a brown ale. The hops finish with a little light pine. The lingering citrus combines with some chocolatey notes to give it a rich and light finish.
The beer has a really well balanced carbonation to syrup ratio. I wouldn’t say it’s too strong on either end of the spectrum. The malty flavors are certainly there, but it is dominated by a lot of citrusy hops and lemon flavors. The feel is a great brown ale for summer.
I’ve now had two very different brown ales on different ends of the spectrum. I think they are both good brown ales, but I like this one for summer and Exit 8 for fall and winter. If you like a good summery brown ale, or you really like citra hops, I would definitely pick this one up. I would have to rather this one above Exit 8 for right now!
Teacher Grade: A
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