Dec 27, 2011

two American (Belgian) Ales from Smuttynose...


Smuttynose Winter Ale (5.1%): Smuttynose is from Portsmouth, New Hampshire and one of the most successful breweries from the micro-brewery boom of late 90's in the States. To be honest they drew my attention first with their hilarious label designs before I could have a chance to taste their beers. This seasonal expression is available from late October through February and brewed with Trappist ale yeast imported from Belgium. Look: Cloudy and dark brown with a deep red glare. Off white head dissolving to a thin film slowly. Nose: Pear pie, spoiled apples and red berries. Very fruity. Distant roasted malt and coffee aromas. Palate: Thick texture with fresh berry and malted barley notes. Quite an entrance of the Belgian Trappist yeast. Taste of a fruity Belgian ale plus the carbonation. Just enough hoppy. Finishes with strong bitter chocolate notes. Very tasty... Overall: I very much enjoyed this beer but I don't agree it's being a winter beer. I can sip it every season. A very tasty Trappist for America, spot on...

Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale (6.5%): This one is a member of the full time line-up of the brewery. It has a higher abv. and has been around since 1988. Smuttynose calls this beer as a classical example of the American Brown Ale. Look: Cloudy very dark copper-brown color with nice, firm, slightly off-white head. Nose: Cherry..! I can nose sweet tannins, vanilla, malt and other red fruits but dominantly cherries. Quite nice... Palate: Very flat. I didn't get the carbonation I was expecting from an American Ale which works for me very nice. The texture and the taste on the tongue reminds me Kriek Lambic. I have a feeling that it might be judged as too sweet by quite a few people. Finish brings roasted malt, some nuttiness and sweet hazelnut chocolate. It leaves a candied sticky coat in your mouth and throat. Not in a bad way though, it keeps the finish longer. Overall: I wouldn't guess this beer as an American beer at a blind tasting. Totally opposite experience than the Winter Ale I tasted above. This time I was expecting an American Ale but ended up with an European style brew. It would pair perfect with thick vegetable stews or salty, heavy cheeses. Definitely will buy again.