Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Cloverdale, CA
Fat Head’s Brewery – Cleveland, OH
Stone Brewing Co. – San Diego, CA
TBA Brown Ale
Stone has been on a roll lately with their collaboration series, where they join with two other breweries across the country to craft a unique one-off beer. Stone already makes some of the best beers on the planet, but in an effort to get outside the box and create something not limited by a particular style, they’ve begun a brain trust of sorts composed of some of the county’s best and up-and-coming breweries.
So far, every beer I’ve had in the series has been a big hit. Last year’s releases included:
- Highway 78 Scotch Ale with Green Flash and Pizza Port;
- Japanese Green Tea IPA with Baird and Ishii, a beer the benefitted tsunami victims;
- Cherry Chocolate Stout with Troegs and two homebrewers;
- La Citrueille Celeste de Citricado pumpkin beer with The Bruery and Elysian.
In 2012, they’ve produced the More Brown Than Black IPA with The Alchemist and Ninkasi to help support hurricane victims in the Northeast, and the newest entry in the series, TBA, a super-hoppy brown ale brewed with Bear Republic and Fat Head’s.
The collaboration was inspired by standard brown ale homebrew kits, usually labeled as “Texas brown ale”s. Instead of letting the biscuit and roasted qualities of most brown ales shine through, the brewers instead added brown sugar and molasses to even it out while hopping the hell out of it. (It’s a Stone brew. What else would you expect?)
The pour is, well, brown. A very deep, rich brown with hints of ruby around the edges of the glass where light shines through. There’s a huge pillowy head on the top and some mild lacing.
On the nose is a really nice blend of the roasted malts and hop bite. I got hints of pine, a subtle sweetness from the molasses and a definite hint of brown sugar. Really interesting for what is in essence a standard brown ale.
On the front of the tongue is a muted bitterness from the hops. A kind of woody maltiness comes through mid-palate accompanied by a nice wash of carbonation. The piney hop notes really comes through on the back. There’s a sort of woody note to the back as well and a nice roasted quality.
Brown ales are one of my least favorite styles. I just consider most of them bland and boring, with no real standout characteristic. But the sweeter notes on this with that great hop kick make this a great twist on the style. Another winner in the series.
Here’s the video Stone put together about it: