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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beer pick of the week: Old Brown Dog Ale

click to enlarge A trusty old dog: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale
  • A trusty old dog: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale

Smuttynose Brewing Company

Portsmouth, NH

5.7% ABV

Dogs seem to be a frequent inspiration for brown ales, as evidenced by Abita Turbodog, Avery Ellie's Brown Ale, and the new-to-Georgia Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale. This beer pours a clear, glowing chestnut that is just about the same color as Olive (R.I.P.), the Smuttynose mascot that graces the label. A volumionous, rocky head sits atop the body and pops and crackles down to a thin cap, leaving some fine lacing. A moderately sweet, toasted malt aroma fairly explodes from the glass, suggesting brown bread crust with an earthy spice note. There are some fruity notes of apple skins and orange, as well. The toasted bread continues in the flavor profile, along with soft crystal malts, steeped grains and a faint nutiness. A flash of juicy sweetness in the center hints of maple syrup, cocoa and toffee. The hops are subdued and vaguely tea-like, with a bit of steely tang of alcohol and a chocolately orange in the clean, dry finish. Round and smooth, with a decent heft to the body, this is a delicious take on an English brown ale, wth its emphasis on malt complexity. A perfect accompaniment to beef or sharp cheese.

(photo by Jeff Holland)

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