Finally! After trying this beer on tap at the Bavarian Lodge I have found it in bottle form. Old Brown is very different than the Aged Pale I reviewed months ago. Where that was straight up sour to the point of puckering, this beer is mellowed and very enjoyable. I’ve fallen in love with this beer and insist you to give it a try.
Appearance: Deep maroon and plum colors with bronze accents. Consistent carbonation creates an eye catching Champaign-like quality. The head is continually replaced and offers a nice beige foam at the beginning.
Aroma: Almost like a triple or quad. Very sweet with an immediate hint of freshly pressed grapes. It lacks the alcoholic snap of strong Belgium’s, but the sour notes add a unique aspect to it. Darker fruits present themselves and there is a very faint hint of oak (more sherry-like come to think of it). I guess it smells like a jar of Smucker’s concord grape jelly.
Taste: Sweet, then sour. I think it comes as close to a fruity wine as any beer I’ve tried. Grape notes dominate at the forefront followed by a mellowed oaky sourness. There is no hop presence and the malts fade into the back ground while lending depth. Somewhat spicy at the back of the throat which I guess the flavors are due to the yeast used which is noticeable.
Mouthfeel: Light bodied and clean. While some sourness lingers on the aftertaste the finish is smooth and refreshing. The carbonation provides a bubbly character which lifts the beer from sticking to the palate.
I think this would be a great beer to serve as an aperitif. It has a low enough ABV and fruity/sour complexity to kickoff a party or course meal without making guests feel full or buzzed.