Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale review

Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown AleThe last beer of the Trail Mix sampler 6-pack has finally come. Tonight I cracked open the 6th in a series of reviews on the Tommyknocker Brewery's beers. I saved the darkest brew for last as this one was one has been a beer I've enjoyed for several years - the Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale. I was wondering how this beer would taste now that I've gotten into the bigger and hoppier beers over this last year. It's been over a year since I've last tried a Maple Nut Brown and I was anxious to open it again.

Appearance: The beer pours a familiar dark amber brown and filled the glass with a small tan head. The head didn't build very much and left just a trace of foam. I couldn't see through this one at the top of the glass but at the thinner bottom half I could see that it was slightly hazy. There was a tiny amount of bubbles coming up from the bottom due to the scoring on the Sam Adams glass, but a lot of carbonation isn't a regular thing from darker brews.

Aroma: Upon first smell, I could immediately pick up a maple syrup and caramel maltiness to this beer. It brought back memories. This was one of the first brown ales that I remember sampling years back and it appears that it's quality is still there. The beer itself is a modest 4.5% ABV so you know it's not going to kick you with just one beer.

Taste: This brown tastes just like it smells. I got a mile blend of caramel and chocolate roasted malts with just a bit of sweetness. It's not very bitter and coats the tongue ever so slightly. You can immediately tell the difference between this kind of brown and a juiced up imperial. There's not a slam to your senses up front, but rather a nice, gentle sip that invite you to try even more.

This would be a great beer for someone who is just getting into darker beers. I'll call it the "semi-dark microbrew with training wheels". I remember why I originally called this one of my favorites. It's smooth, tasty and not overly bitter. The roastiness of the malts isn't too heavy and is slightly sweet. There's just enough dark malts in here to remind you of a coffee flavor but not overly so.

Being near the tail end of Spring and with temperatures in the low 70's, this may not be the best time of year to enjoy brown ales. But since it is a "lighter" dark brew it still satisfies a thirst. Of all of the 6 different styles in this Tommyknocker sampler pack, this one was in the top two. The Butt Head Dopplebock just slightly edges out this beer.

I'm going to give this beer a 3.3 out of 5 rating and a repeat buy signal. The beer ranking sites were somewhat neutral to this beer, but then again they tend to only appreciate the over the top kind of beers.

Tommyknocker Sampler Summary

So to sum up the six pack sampler I ranked the six beers in this order - best to least favorite:

(1) Butt Head Dopplebock, (2) Maple Nut Brown, (3) Jack Whacker Wheat, (4) Alpine Glacier Lager, (5) Ornery Amber Lager and (6) Pick Axe Pale Ale.

I think grabbing a sampler pack is the best and least expensive way to test out new beers next to going to the brewery itself. Grats to Tommyknocker for a great mix of ales and lagers. All six got a 3.0 or better in my book which means I'd try them again. While none 'cept the Dopplebock had an outstanding mark above 3.4, they are all worthy of your time.

Related articles:
- After 15 years Tommyknocker offers up a Legend.
- Tommyknocker Jack Whacker Wheat Ale review.
- Tommyknocker Pick Axe Pale Ale review.
- Tommyknocker Butt Head Doppelbock review.
- Tommyknocker Alpine Glacier Lager review.
- Tommyknocker Ornery Amber Lager review.

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