Draft Notes

One beer at a time…

Archive for the category “Brown Ale”

Tommyknocker Brewery Maple Nut Brown

A few months back I received a gift of a Beer of the Month Club membership. I honestly have not had much to speak about from my deliveries; however, this week I received a beer which peaked my interest from Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs, Colorado. I am going to take a look at their Maple Nut Brown. Not a rare beer find or anything, as they distribute to over half the country and I have actually seen this beer at my local store. I have only had one beer with maple in it and that was Rogue’s Maple Bacon which was in my opinion a bit of a disaster. I have to think I can find better uses of maple out there.Tommy glass 2

My first question about this brewery is: Why the name Tommyknocker? Well, the brewery is located in a small Colorado mining town and Tommy Knockers are mythical creatures which live under ground in the mines. These creatures apparently are known to notify miners when a collapse is looming by making knocking sounds with rocks. Furthermore, they are usually the first suspect when I miner lost tools or were broken.

Couple of other quick facts about old Tommyknocker Brewery. The brewpub was founded in 1994, the town is at an elevation of 7500 feet, and they also make four types of soda. Wow!Tommyknock label
Maple Nut Brown is brewed with Perle and Willamette hops alongside 2-row, Munich, Crystal (75&150), Carapils, and Chocolate malts. As mentioned above and in the name, there is dash of maple syrup in the mix. The ABV is 4.5% and IBU level clocks in at 20. Let’s drink.

I am pouring a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug as suggested by the beer club. The recommended serving temperature is 47-52 °F, so I let the bottle sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes to let it warm up a little.

Appearance is Amber Brown with a small amount of white head receding almost immediately.

Aromas are dessert worthy with roasted and nutty notes along with a dash of brown sugar mixed in.

Tastes I pick up immediately are caramel, nutty, and vanilla, followed by a zing of maple syrup in the finish.

Mouth feel is a medium body and minimal carbonation. Not as thick or syrupy as I expected. I think when maple syrup comes to mind, those are the qualities I am expecting and thankfully that is not the case. Quite smooth really.

Tommy glass n capOverall I am pleasantly surprised with this beer. It is very easy drinking with most of the traditional nut-brown flavors and a nice subtle twist of maple. I feel like it could be better by adding a little more toasted flavor and carbonation (a bit flat for my liking). I will rate Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown 3.75 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes scale.

For more information on Tommyknocker Brewery, check them out here: http://www.tommyknocker.com/

Want to know more about Tommyknockers? Check out the American
Folklores website


Cigar City Brewery Maduro Brown

Cigar City Maduro Brown

I recently saw that RateBeer posted their Top 100 Brewery list and the number 4 position was held by Cigar City Brewing. I had heard a lot about this brewery out of Tampa, Florida, but did not realize it held such clout in the industry. Unfortunately, Cigar City beers are not distributed in the DC Metro area (and from what I can tell, many places outside Florida). After being bombarded with emails from Let’s Pour, an online beer sales site, I decided to hand over my savings and order a selection of Cigar City beers (10 for $40 after a $10 off and free shipping). The beer I am going to review today is the Maduro Brown, one of their year round selections.Maduro Can

Maduro Brown is an English style Brown Ale which contains 5.5% alcohol and 25 IBUs.  The brewery website notes that the ABV is a little higher than most English Brown’s and they have also added oat flakes to give it more of a silky body. The addition of oats is most often seen in stouts, so I am very curious to see how it impacts the brown ale. I just can’t imagine a beer like Newcastle Brown having the silky feel of a stout.

The serving I have is a 12 oz can, which I will pour into a mug.Maduro Glass

Appearance is a hazy brown (surprise!) with fairly minimal head which recedes almost immediately.

Aromas I pick up are chocolate, brown sugar, and caramel.

I taste a fair share of cocoa, toffee, caramel, and a touch of coffee (maybe just the slight bitterness).

Mouth feel is the interesting part of this beer. It is definitely silky as expected due to the oats, but nothing like a thick silky stout. It is a watery silk if that makes any sense with a bit of a chalky finish. This leaves me a little confused about my feelings for this beer.

Overall I am not highly impressed, but I think it is an interesting take on the English Brown style which must of us a most familiar with due to Newcastle Brown. It is easy drinking and plenty of flavor, but I am just not too impressed with the use of oats giving it a feel that just did not sit well with me. I will rate Cigar City’s Maduro Brown 3.5 Mugs out of 5 on the Draft Notes Scale.

I plan on reviewing at least one more of the Cigar City selection with hopes I can see more of why this brewery is held in such high regard. I did try their “Hotter Than Helles” which was an amazing Helles Lager, a style I usually avoid.

To learn more about Cigar City, check out their website here: http://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/. See the entire RateBeer Top 100 here: http://www.ratebeer.com/RateBeerBest/bestbrewers_012013x.asp.

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