Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale – 6.5% ABV
Smuttynose Brewing Company is a craft brewery based out of Portsmouth, NH. I’ve heard of Smuttynose before, and I’ve had a number of their beers. I don’t remember which exactly, as they were all imbibed during various beer festivals I went to. Atlantic City, Secaucus, Jersey City, it could have been from any or all of them. But I digress. Regardless, I wanted to cover this one because it is the latest flavor on the Smuttynose Tour and Stinky’s Pub and Brewhouse (aka the affectionate nickname for my place) was the most recent stop. I found this at Buy Rite (yet another solid suggestion AJ, thanks again brother) and brought it home to examine the goods.
Looking at the bottle you get a pretty self-explanatory image – an old brown dog smack dab in the middle of the label with what looks like a red or brown curtain behind it. Perhaps this is the stage that is set, and the beer is ready for a performance? Popping this open, I grabbed a fairly standard beer mug (all my fancy glassware was in the washing machine at the time) and gave it a pour. The body was a dark reddish amber/light brown color. To be honest with you, it was almost the same color as the dog on the label. Go figure. It’s quite murky, with some sediment floating about in the body of the glass. It gave a nice thick fluffy light beige head that had good retention and fairly nice lacing.
The smell of Smuttynose Old Brown Dog is nutty and bready, with some brown sugar sweetness and a hint of caramel. You can see by the look of it that plenty of dark malts went into this one. Smelling it only reinforces that opinion. But how does it taste? Taking my first pull of this, right off the bat I get the flavors of chocolate and caramel, some malty sweetness in the middle and a nice nutty hint in the finish. This thing is smooth and continued like this the whole way through. No surprises from sharp bitter hops creeping out of the corner or anything like that. This one goes down easy. I’m really digging that nutty component at the end of it. A nice twist at the finish to a smooth, malty brew.
This is a good medium-bodied beer that will fill you up just right. The carbonation is moderate, the body slightly filling. I’m impressed by this one. This gives me a new perspective on brown ales, especially the purported “nut brown ales.” I would have to pit this against other nut browns if I wanted to determine how good it really is in the style, but right now I’m enjoying it on its own. Give this one a shot if you see it. This would be great for fall or winter sipping or spring or summer for that matter. Make yours a Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale and like they kept saying at the Kentucky Derby – “I’ll Have Another!” Cheers!