Between getting older, drinking less and lack of sleep (the final two directly related to the birth of my son) I have become kind of a lightweight with respect to my alcohol tolerance. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and really doesn’t effect me very often, I just have to be more careful monitoring my intake, especially when I crack a beer earlier in the day. I try to keep a selection of lower alcohol beer around for situations like this Saturday, when the Pats played in the afternoon and I opened my first beer before kickoff. This is no problem in the summer, with the huge selection of low ABV pilsners, pale ales and session IPAs, but it can be a challenge in the fall and winter months when I prefer darker and maltier offerings. One style that I’ve come around on recently are brown ales, especially the British style “mild ales” that are lower in alcohol than many bolder (and boozier) American varieties. The mild brown ale seems to be making a little bit of a comeback, it was nearly non-existent in the US but I’ve seen a few recent local examples. One is Hooligan Nut Brown, the sessionable brown ale from Down The Road Brewery. Hooligan is named in honor of Hedley Kow, featured on the bottle art, a mischievous spirit known for shape-shifting and playing tricks on people. Down The Road Hooligan Nut Brown is available year round on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Down The Road Hooligan Nut Brown pours clear brown with a small off-white head. The scent features the sweet maltiness you expect from the style. There is plenty of malt flavor, with notes of caramel, biscuits, brown sugar and honey, but the beer isn’t overly sweet. Some subtle hops add just enough earthy flavor and balance while staying true to the style. The beer is medium bodied and drinks very smooth, sessionable at 4.5% ABV. The finish is clean with just a touch of lingering malt flavor. Hooligan Nut Brown is a really nice mild-style brown ale, plenty of flavor but easy to drink and lower alcohol. I would like to see a few more beers of this type on the market and will make this a mainstay during the colder months. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
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