We Are Enriched by Our Reciprocate Differences
A Review of Ellie's Brown Ale by Avery Brewing Co.
Posted on 5/31/2011 by Chops
Brown ales can be tricky beers to review because there are so many different versions that can appeal to so many different tastes. They range from really sweet and syrupy to very bitter and hoppy. Most of the core traits can vary wildly and appearance seems to be the only consistent trait, but only somewhat. This generally means that any level of beer fan can find a brown they like.

I really enjoyed Ellie's Brown Ale, but I know that many of my fellow brew fans probably won't. My personal preference for a tasty brown includes a little hop bite with a drier, medium-body. That's not to say that the other thick and smooth browns aren't tasty too (Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar comes to mind, holy yum). I guess the point to take away here is that there is no specific formula to a great brown ale. But the really great ones always tend to hang around the middle of the spectrum.

Ellie's Brown Ale leans more towards the aggressive browns. Once in the glass, you can tell that it's going to be a stronger brown. It's a deep and dark brown, almost black. Definitely pushing the porter boundary. The smell also leans more towards a porter. Rich roasted malts with a strong coffee vibe, plus a little hop sting. Definitely makes me happy, but I can see how this would be a bit off-putting to others.

The first sip is very hop heavy for a brown, almost like a weakened IPA. The middle ground settles down into a medium-bodied coffee like flavor. The only downside to this beer is the finish, which is quite dry and chalky. All those rich roasted malt flavors stick around for a long time, so the finish feels like you've been chewing on coffee beans. It's fine if you enjoy those bitter aftertastes, but fans of sweeter browns will definitely find it unpleasant.

Overall, this is a nice brown ale for me, but probably not for others. Like I said before, I like my browns with bite and Ellie's definitely has one. I'd definitely recommend it to fans of porters and stouts, but fans of ambers and lagers would probably find it too oppressive. And for anyone wanting to explore the brown range, Ellie's is a great example of a moderately aggressive brown.

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Ellie's Brown Ale by Avery Brewing Co.
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