Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale Review: Man’s Best Friend


In Hampton, New Hampshire, Smuttynose Brewing flaunts its odd name, and brews some very good beers. According to the company’s website:

Smuttynose was founded in 1994 by the folks who started the Northampton and Portsmouth Breweries. Our beers are distributed from Maine to Florida and as far west as California and Sweden. Our new facility is open for public tours beginning on May 31st and while you’re there make sure to check out our new retail shop.

As for the company’s name:

Our company is named for Smuttynose Island, the third largest of the nine islands that comprise the Isles of Shoals, a small, rocky archipelago that lies seven miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. The name appears on nautical charts going back as far as the seventeenth century, so its true origins are lost to time. Prior to the arrival of Smuttynose Brewing, the island was best known for a brutal double axe murder that occurred there in 1873.

As for Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale (6.7% ABV), here is the company’s own description:

Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped. Old Brown Dog has been around for many years. It was first brewed in 1988 at the Northampton Brewery. In 1989 it won a silver medal in its category (American Brown Ale) at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver.

As a brown ale, Old Brown Dog Ale is brewed from medium-dark roasted, malted grains, and more heavily-hopped than a standard English brown ale. It is top-fermented and warm-fermented.

Everything On Tap Review: Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale:

Bottle: Dark brown glass sports a dark brown rectangular label with a maroon banner. Lettering is white, and the logo is of a dark brown dog.

Pour: The color is medium-dark brown, like US iced tea. The head is foamy and light brown. It dissipates moderately-slowly, leaving medium lacing.

Aroma: The bouquet is classic American ale: malted, sweet grains with a background of yeasty bread, with some floral hops.

Flavor: The flavor begins with sweet, roasted, malted grains and a nutty undertone. On the finish, the floral hops make a bid for slight bitterness. This is a basic, classic brown ale. It is not overwhelming in anything, but it contains just the right amounts and balance of the perfect, traditional ale flavors.

Mouthfeel: The body is medium, as is the carbonation. The viscosity is just right for an ale: just thick enough. The finish is smooth.

Structure: Despite having a simple flavor palate, it is nevertheless a high-quality, stable flavor palate. Thus, the structure is wide and stable.

Food Pairing: Pair this with grilled beef, roast beef, or grilled chicken, as well as with strong, aged, English cheddar.

Overall Rating Out Of 5 Possible Beer Mugs:

4MUGS

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