03 June 2009

Stitch this

The recent spell of hot weather meant that my attic ceased to function as the wonderful cellar it has hitherto been in the seven short months of its existence. So I'm doing a bit of a determined clear-out at the moment, which recently featured two dark American beers I found sweating at the back.

Brooklyn Brown Ale claims to be richer than its English forbears, but at only 5.6% ABV, you have to wonder how it would compare to some of the extinct styles Ron has told us about. Given that Napoleonic-era English breweries were turning out aged brown beers of not dissimilar strength, where could this richness have come from? The underlying flavours of Brooklyn Brown are dry, with roasted coffee notes and sweet hints, shading to metallic at the end. Not what I'd call rich.

It also claims higher levels of hoppiness compared to its antecedents, and that's hard to argue with. The citric bitterness jumps right out at the front in a way very like Brooklyn Lager. In fact, at first sip it's nearly hard to tell one from the other. Only the colour, the minor secondary sugary roasted flavours and the soft carbonation set them apart.

On the one hand it's hard not to like this, but on the other I don't know why you choose it over the mightily tasty Brooklyn Lager.

I don't think there's any historical British basis claimed for Samuel Adams Honey Porter, but it still nails its colours to the mast with Goldings and Scottish heather honey. There's a lot going on in this even-darker ruby ale, at first anyway. It's quite sticky, and smoky, with more than a hint of treacle. A fresh note of honey follows after, but the whole taste sensation ends far too soon, and the drinker is left with nothing very much at all. I enjoyed it, but the lack of legs really lets it down as a purportedly "robust" porter.

All the sweetness in these beers has me hankering after the plain simple dryness found in Ron's 1914 Whitbread porter.

(The title? Answer here.)


  1. Thanks for the review of the Sam Adams honey porter. I have seen it but the off licence would nto sell it. Must give it a go but wont pay for a siz pack of it now.

  2. Grrr. Down with that sort of thing. Or... that sort of thing, but with six-packs costing under a tenner.

  3. I've got a real soft spot for Brooklyn Brown. It seems to go with pretty much any kind of food and, although initially underwhelming, is maybe a bit rounder tasting than Brooklyn Lager.

  4. I thought the Honey Porter was OK. It had a nice flavor and was different (for me anyway) but I thought it was a bit to dry.

    I thought this was one beer that would be better with some food rather than having it by itself.

  5. I really liked the Brooklyn brown, the Honey porter was nice but one was enough and not as drinkable as their holiday porter.