Brown Ale: The old is new again

Posted to Uncategorized August 7, 2020 by dropinbrewing


At one point in history all ales were probably Brown. Beer is made from malted barley where the barley is germinated and then dried in a kiln. Historical methods of malting involved drying the wet grain over a fire, so not only was the malt darkened in color, it was also probably smokey. The invention of a smokeless version of coal and the use of indirect heat in hte malt kiln allowed for a pale version of malt to be produced. This led to brewers making pale ales and India pale ales. So if, historically, IPAs replaced brown ales as a popular style of beer wouldn’t it be ironic if the next trend to replace the massively popular IPA style was the humble brown ale. For a lot of the recent past in craft beer, the contribution of malt, and more specifically roasted or caramelized malts, has taken a back seat to hops in the hearts of American craft beer drinkers. Brown ales can be hoppy however, but the key to a great one is balance between the caramel malt flavor and hops. Not every hop variety works well in a brown ale, as the lighter brighter citrus and tropical fruit aromas may clash a little with the caramel malt flavors. Brown ales certainly have their place in the lineup when a bar offers true choices for their customers. While the public ovewhelmingly want’s IPA they probably don’t need for 15 of the 16 taps in a bar to be IPA. Our Heart of Lothian fits the bill as an alternative to the ubiquitous IPA,and as its a Scottish style brown ale has the added benefit of being historically accurate.