Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Brown Ales — Steinhaus Brewing Co. (Firestone Walker) vs. Rogue

Steinhaus Brewing Co.
Mission St. Brown Ale

(Contract Brewed for Trader Joe's by Firestone Walker)
ABV 5.7%

Soda pop brown.
Sweet chocolate malts, bready grains.
A bit watery, sweet chocolate with some weird vegetal notes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
A bit of metallic, tinny bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Rogue Jacksonville
Anniversary Ale

ABV ?%

Dark copper brown.
Aroma: Saltines, bread, dry oatmeal, whole wheat bread, amaretto, hay.
Flavor: Chocolate, hay, very slight citrus late.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Whole wheat bread, amaretto.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good +

Blow by Blow
Based on the selection (or lack thereof) of Brown ales we've seen in the Seattle area, it's safe to say that they aren't the most popular style of beer right now. Most people we know reach for a porter or a stout when they are craving a dark beer. It's unfortunate because a well-made Brown Ale can be just what you need when a pale ale seems too light and a porter seems too heavy.

The competitors tonight were both from out of state. We had a special release beer from Rogue commemorating the 150th anniversary of the quaint little town of Jacksonville, OR (definitely check this town out if you are in the Ashland/Medford area) and we had a beer from Trader Joe's that is contract brewed by the well-respected Firestone Walker brewery in California.
We've been battling a lot of big, rich beers lately, so it was a nice change of pace to feature two beers that are less jarring to the palate.

The Rogue didn't mess around. The aroma was wonderfully complex. The chocolate, almond and bread notes came together to create what Ellen described as "chocolate almond cookie crumb pie crust." That pretty much nailed it. The flavor followed suit with lots of bready chocolate and a touch of citrus hops.

We had high hopes for the Mission St. Brown when we heard that Firestone Walker had contract brewed it for Trader Joe's. Unfortunately, it couldn't hang with the Rogue. It was pretty one-dimensional with sweet chocolate malts coming through in the aroma, flavor and finish. And when you come to a battle with sweet and simple flavors you shouldn't be surprised when you get decked.

Congratulations to Rogue on brewing a great beer and to Jacksonville, Oregon for celebration 150 years of existence with a beer that was worthy of the occasion.

Winner by unanimous decision: Jacksonville Anniversary Ale

No comments:

Post a Comment