Sweet malty beers usually aren't my thing, and nut brown ales are nothing if not sweet. But there was something about the slant of the late-afternoon sun this weekend that made me want to sit back on the sofa with a stack of magazines and sip something smooth, roasty, and yes, sweet. Enter this Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue Ales.
Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue Ales, Newport, OR (Brown ale with hazelnut extract, 6.2% ABV, 33 IBU)
This beer is such a warm and cozy shade of mahogany brown that it makes you want to cuddle with the glass. The pillowy cap of soft foam takes minutes to fade.
As sweet and nutty as you could ever hope from a nut ale.
This beer is sweet, no doubt about it, but not quite in the way you might expect. For one thing, it's not as cloying or bang-you-on-the-head malty as other nut browns can be. The beer has a clear nutty flavor, like a batch of glazed nuts just coming out of the oven. A dash of spiciness (cinnamon?) from the hops give the flavor some dimension and intrigue. A slight wood-fire flavor also adds a nice underbelly to the sip - it's not smokiness exactly; think "day-old campfire."
Super smooth and super well-balanced, this is my ideal afternoon sipper. For a nut brown ale, you can't get much better.
For my afternoon nibbles with my afternoon sipper, I'd go for a plate of fruit and cheeses. Gouda would be an especially nice match here, though something sharper like a gorgonzola would provide a fun contrast..
What do you think of this beer?
Related: Mid-Day Brews: Low(er) Alcohol Beers to Have with Lunch
(Image: Emma Christensen)