Weekly Beer Geek: Nut Brown Ale
- Written by Luke G
- November 10, 2011
Nut Brown Ale
Michigan Brewing Company
Simple story here- it’s fall, and I like fall beers for their pleasant blend of sweetness, body, and flavor. Besides, with the time change it is now getting dark as I get off work and nothing says “Fall” like early darkness. Michigan Brewing Co is a [fairly] local outfit and I’m always one to root, root, root for the home team. With a pleasant fall scene on the label and a brisk brown ale inside, Nut Brown was the perfect thing to grab me on an overcast rainy day.
The Brewer’s Pitch
The MBC is pretty lacking in their description of what this beer is meant to be- but then, by calling it a brown ale they are making some basic claims about what it is. Brown Ales can take on a range of strengths, from low-alcohol beer with a sweeter more syrupy texture, all the way through to deep brown high-proof, high-hop brown ales. Nut Brown ale tends to fall into the same family as northeastern England brown ales- strong with lots of malt and nut flavors, sometimes a bit fruity or citrusy. When made in the US, our local hops varieties often result in a final product that is more light-bodied and dryer in taste and body.
Nut Brown is a deep brown with a vivid ruby-red tint when lit from behind. The head is about a finger thick and pale tan, and the smell is sugary and nutty like roasted almonds. The first thing I noticed about the beer was its sharp carbonation that made it tingle and gave a very sharp sensation. This carbonation is balanced by a slightly heavy texture. The beer carries a mild malty taste with heavily smoky overtones that are tangy and almost reminiscent of burning leaves. The finish is clean, with very mild hops to bring just enough bitterness to clean out most of the smoke. A slightly nutty, leathery aftertaste lingers across the whole tongue.
Michigan Brewing Co. Nut Brown may be my new go-to middle of the road fall beer. At under 2 bucks a bottle the price is right for a craft beer, and the beer itself is simple with a few nice twists. The smokiness is a nice surprise, as you often must seek out much heavier beer to get that smooth smoke flavor. With the heavy carbonation and sharp sweet tang, the smoke is held in check to create a beer that has body without being too overbearing. All in all it was great for the rainy day I drank it on, although the aftertaste is a bit strong, and the heavy carbonation made me burp a lot. This could go well with equally sharp and tangy food- Mexican, marinated steak, or chili.
The Bottom Line
This is the first beer I’ve reviewed (outside of oddballs like Pumpkin Beer or Chili Beer) that has no title other than the type of beer it is- look out for the MBC to release “Lager” and “Pilsner” soon- maybe they’ll work up to just releasing something called “Beer.” Then it will make sense when people in movies walk into bars and just say “gimme a beer.”