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.
Previous Down The Road Reviews:
Down The Road Rasenmaher Kolsch, Down The Road Pukwudgie Pale Ale
Down The Road Brewery in Newton is gradually rolling out their introductory lineup of beers. They recently released Rasenmaher Kolsch on draft and in 12 oz. bottles. If you grab a bottle you’ll probably notice something interesting in their artwork. The label depicts Down The Road character Hans Mowermann pushing a lawnmower in his lederhosen. In his free hand, where you might expect to see a frosty mug of beer, there is a small “censored” label instead. The original art included the mug of beer, but the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (who approves all labels for alcoholic beverages), nixed the art. The full story can be found on Down The Road’s blog HERE. Apparently the TTB consider a lawnmower to be heavy machinery, and every beer contains the warning to not operate heavy machinery if you consume alcohol. I’m glad Down The Road chose to use the censored label instead of re-doing their artwork, it adds a little intrigue and immediately draws the consumer’s eye. While Rasenmaher Kolsch is a perfect Summertime lawnmower beer, it is going to be one of Down The Road’s flagship beers and thus available year-round.
Down The Road Rasenmaher Kolsch pours a clear pale orange with a mild white head. The scent is a mixture of noble hops with just a touch of German-style yeast. The taste starts with the pale malts, notes of crackers and grain. This is perfectly complemented by the noble hops, which add moderate earthy and grassy flavors. The German yeast is less expressive than Belgian styles, but adds some subtle hints of banana and clove. The beer is very light and easy to drink with some spritzy carbonation and sessionable at 4.5% ABV. Rasenmaher Kolsch is a great summer beer, full flavored but crushable, I’ll knock back a few of these on the porch and add this to my BBQ rotation. I’m glad only the label was censored and not the beer! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.
Previous Down The Road Reviews:
Down The Road Pukwudgie Pale Ale
Few things are more exciting to a craft beer enthusiast than having a new brewery open right in your neighborhood. Down The Road Brewery officially launched this week, and although they don’t have a tap room yet they are headquartered in Newton, very close to where I currently reside. The first product released by Down The Road is their flagship pale ale named Pukwudgie. In the IPA centric craft beer market it is nice to see a new brewery lead off with an APA, it feels like the style is falling out of favor. Pukwudgie is an interesting name! They named the beer after a mythical Wampanoag woodland creature. I don’t think they’ll have to worry about infringing on the copyrights of any other breweries with this one. Pukwudgie is an American pale ale brewed with Chinook and Mosaic hops. It is available locally on draft and in 12 oz. bottles. I bought a bottle on Friday (March 27th) that was bottled on March 26th – can’t beat that for freshness.
Down The Road Pukwudgie pours orange-tinted yellow with a solid white head. The smell is a solid hit of hops with aromas of citrus fruit and resin. The taste is also very malt forward, notes of pine, lemon and orange. This beer also packs some bite, with bitterness that approaches IPA-level. They could have easily called this a “session IPA”, once again solidifying my assertion that session IPAs are usually just American pale ales with a newer marketing campaign. The body is pretty light, you get just a little maltiness to add some balance along with a touch of cracked grain and caramel. The beer is super-easy to drink, and very sessionable at 4.5% ABV. The finish is very clean, leaving a little bite of hops on the tongue. This is a really good start for the new brewery. I look forward to crushing a few of these on the porch this spring and to trying what Down The Road releases next! Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.