Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Telluride Face Down Brown Ale review

Telluride Face Down Brown AleBrown ales are supposed to be non-exciting, at least that's what most people are led to believe. Not so when you consider today's beer review. Telluride Brewing Company recently won multiple awards for one of its beers - Telluride Face Down Brown Ale. This beer took home gold in both the 2012 World Beer Cup and at the 2012 Great American Beer Festival in the American Style Brown Ale category.

What also makes this brown ale special is that it was brewed in a tiny mountain town of Telluride, Colorado and distributed in cans. Just last January (2013), Telluride Brewing struck a distribution deal that now brings Face Down Brown Ale and others of its label to the Front Range area of Colorado. Previously, folks along the Eastern Slope could only get a taste of this beer at beer festivals or in Western Colorado. I was pleased to find a single can of this in a singles section at my local beer store.

Telluride Brewing has only been around for less than two years. They opened in October of 2011. Now they make around 12 different beers, but only a couple of which are now in cans. Face Down Brown is a year round beer that weighs in at 5.7%. it's described as a hybrid of an English and American style Brown that has tones of chocolate, toffee and nut flavors. It's bittered with Magnum, Tettanger CTZ and Cascade hops. For far, it's their only gold medal winning beer and it's won two of them.

Appearance: Face Down Brown came out of the can ready for business. The color reminded me of a cola, brown with mahogany highlights. This beer easily built up a big tall tan head with just a bit of an aggressive pour. The foam stuck well to the sides of the glass - just a wonderful lacing. The beer was nearly dark enough to hide the other side of the glass, but around the bottom and sides of the glass I could almost see through it. It turned out a bit darker than most brown ales.

Aroma: A ha! The aroma, right off the bat, told me why this beer won medals. It's the best brown ale aroma I've known. There was a rich chocolate and toffee aroma here. It certainly lived up to the brewer's description there. This is an aroma I look for in a chocolate stout as well. It's bold, with a sweet roasted malt scent and with a nutty character as well. Most browns I've had are pretty bland in this department, but Telluride spent some extra time with the aroma here. Simply wonderful and inviting. I got a hint of citrus and spice from the hops as well.

Face Down Brown close-upTaste: Face Down Brown had a medium body rich with bit of a bite from the bitterness at the end of the sip. This beer had a heavier feel than other brown ales, and that's a good thing. There was plenty of roasted malts here that reminded me of coffee, bitter chocolate and a big malt flavor. The malts were not sweet as the aroma might have indicated, at least not at first. The beer does change a bit as it warms and more of the sweetness came through later on. This was a roasty and bitter brew with lots of flavor. I could almost taste the Cascade hops in the flavor here too. The Cascade hops really come out of hiding after the first several sips and as the beer warmed up a bit.

This beer may well be a Brown ale through and through, but what I found funny was when I exhaled through my nose after a big sip, it reminded me of an IPA. One might even call this a Brown IPA although it falls short of the bitterness and hop nose of an IPA. The malts definitely still shined brightly here, but the hops manage to dig their way to the top on the back side.

Overall: Telluride's Face Down Brown Ale was quite the surprise. The aroma really sold me on this beer and the taste surprised me due to its complexity, bitter taste and quality. If you aren't a big fan of brown ales then you may not have tried the right one. Get this and compare it to other browns you've had and this one will sell you on what a Brown ale should taste like. I would definitely agree with the Gold medals. This beer is one of the better Brown ales.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store as part of a build your own six pack deal.

Related articles:
- Telluride Brewing bringing its beers to Denver.
- Telluride Brewing Company opens for business. (Oct. 2011)
- Upslope Brown Ale review.

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