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.
Beer Details: Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue Ales, Newport, OR (Brown ale with hazelnut extract, 6.2% ABV, 33 IBU)
Appearance: 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.
Aroma: As sweet and nutty as you could ever hope from a nut ale.
Taste: 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.
Food Pairings: 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?
(Image: Emma Christensen)