Widmer Brother Brewing
Brothers’ Reserve Kill Devil Brown Ale
You know when you go to the grocery store and scan the aisles for something new to try, and you see a few different six packs from a brewery you’ve heard of before and think, “Nah, that’s probably nothing special”? In short, that’s my relationship with Widmer Brothers.
You can walk into any grocery store around here and find plenty of Drifter Pale Ale, or Drop Top Amber Ale, or their Hefeweizen, but in my experience, they’re always one of those last resort craft beer choices. I can’t say I blame people for passing over them. I’ve found nothing about the aforementioned beers that would really push me to buy them again.
But I’ll be damned if I have not been proven wrong time and time again with what these guys have been cranking out recently.
The Rotator Series of IPAs is consistently impressive. The Alchemy Project – Barrel Aged Brrrbon, Raspberry RIS – is stellar. And the Brothers’ Reserve series … well, I’m getting to how awesome those beers can be.
While they (sadly) don’t make it anymore, the Prickly Pear Braggot was my first introduction to the series. At 10%, it knocked me on my then-novice beer geek ass, and the series has continued to be stellar ever since. The Galaxy Hopped Barleywine and Lemongrass Wheat Ale are excellent and unique, and that trend continues to Kill Devil Brown Ale.
It’s no ordinary brown ale, though. At 9.5%, the beer is brewed with palm sugar and two types of molasses, then aged in Puerto Rican rum barrels. So, a sweeter high ABV barrel-aged brown ale? Yuuup.
The pour is a mild hazy brown and copperish amber color. There’s half a finger of a really light head that doesn’t do much for lacing, but there are some very strong alcohol legs.
The rum on the nose is insane. I could smell it from a few feet away after I poured it in the glass. There’s a strong caramel and toffee note, definitely a sweetness from the molasses along with burnt sugar. That standard brown ale maltiness is present as well as big oak and vanilla notes. While the rum is overpowering, it surprisingly wasn’t boozy.
There’s a very slight hop bitterness on the front of the tongue. It’s very smooth and sweet on the palate and ends with a big punch of toffee, burnt sugar, black licorice and plums. It settles into a much sweeter note with lots of the molasses, vanilla and oak. The rum is, again, very prevalent on the finish and only slightly boozy. It’s a very malty and toasty beer with big sweet flavors.
Forgive me, Widmer Brothers, for ever doubting you. Keep putting out stuff like this and I’ll continue to wax poetic.