So the beer I’m talking about in this post? I drew the arrow pointing to it. It’s a rich milk chocolate brown color and yes, that is my geeky self holding it.
LOOKITME I’M ON TV!!!!!!
Name: Oliver Brown Ale
Origin: Free State Brewery, Lawrence, KS
Style: Brown Ale
ABV: not given per usual Free State operating procedure; OG of 1.057
I drank this: at the brewery during a taping of the Rachel Maddow Show+
First of all, this really is an Oliver Brown Ale and not Free State’s usual John Brown Ale.* So don’t think I got it wrong – Free State just happens to have a legion of kickass brown ales in its repertoire.
So. The beer. This beer is a highly-hopped brown ale. This is a style that can be either very, very bad or relatively good. In this case, it was very good, which puts it a few steps beyond every other beer of this style I’ve ever had (including Free State’s own Stormwatch Ale – if you’ve had that beer, the Oliver Brown is what the Stormwatch (and every other beer of this style) is trying to be).
The scent of the beer is a rich, malty scent with hints of grassy/citrus hops and a back hint of chocolate. The beer is suitably chocolate-dark for a brown ale, and fairly opaque. The head lasted for about five minutes and was a sort of cream color.
Flavor-wise, this beer is a combination of some really rich malts with some strong chocolate hints – I’m guessing chocolate malts make up a pretty hefty percentage of the malt profile here – combined with citrus and grassy hops. The hops are strong and quite bitter, but balanced well with the strong malt profile. The thing that makes this beer a standout for me is the way the hops interact with the chocolate undertones – the beer has a sort of chocolate/orange flavor combination going on that is fantastic. It’s a subtle flavor, but it’s there, and it’s awesome.
I gather from the website that this is one of Free State’s newest beers. I’m a fan. I hope they brew it again.
*HISTORY LESSON! The John Brown Ale is named after the abolitionist John Brown, he of the famous painting wherein our namesake is crazily bearded and surrounded by smoke, piles of bodies and tornadoes. Trust me, you’ve seen it. Especially if you grew up in Kansas.
Oliver Brown, on the other hand, is the main figure in Brown v the Board of Education. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, please go join Sarah Palin in a remedial US History class.
+ RACHEL RACHEL RACHEL THANK YOU FOR COMING TO FREE STATE
Seriously, it was really flipping cool to see someone whose work I admire so strongly doing her thing at one of my all-time favorite watering holes. Thank you for remembering there are a few liberals in the Midwest, and that we like the attention.