Saturday, April 30, 2011

Point - Burly Brown

Happy Friday, brew fans!  It has been far too long since I have had a brown ale and I look to remedy that ASAP.  Tonight's pouring is from Point Brewery in Stevens Point, WI.  I tend to trust beers from Wisconsin as the vast majority of Wisconsinites are of German descent and can whip up a tasty brew before you can say "Reinheitsgebot."  That in mind I am excited to try this latest offering.  Let's pour!

Picture is my own.  Bottle art image used without permission for educational uses only.
Aroma 9/12
The aroma is very malt-heavy and not entirely inappropriate for the style.  The medium roast and notes of caramel great compliments to one another and are a pleasant way to make this beer's acquaintance.  Once the  head dies down, the sweet nutty aroma shows lightly.  The nutty aroma somehow mixes with the caramel and sweetness to occasionally remind the drinker of something cola-esque.

Appearance 2/3
The color is a bit light for the style, bring almost amber/reddish under better lighting than the above photo.  However, the beige head was generous for the gentle pour, retention was solid at worst, and left some nice lacing.  A collar remained to the end of the pint.

Picture is my own.
Flavor 10/20
An extremely light flavor especially when considering the name (let alone the style).  Initial flavors are so light as to nearly be non-existent.  The backbone of the beer is malty, but not in a roasted way as the style demands.  The malt could very well be pale (or even crystal!) with caramel flavors added; a disappointing departure from the aroma.  The finish is again a nutty, malt sweetness with an almost complete lack of roast flavor.  In a true example of "better late than never," the aftertaste has some nutty tones and a nice round bitter.  The flavor is almost like getting a little bit of the shell or lining when eating a walnut - some earthy, sweet taste and a stronger bitter counterpart.

Mouthfeel 2/5
The first impression when sampling this beer had to do with its mouthfeel: thin.  While the carbonation is just about perfect, the body is watery.  This results in a brown that is easier to drink than most, but with too high of an alcohol content (5.43% ABV) to make it truly sessionable.  For a thin beer, it somehow manages to obtain a desirable level of creaminess.

Overall Impression 4/10
A brown ale that is not quite brown, has little roasted malt flavor, light body, and very little nut flavor is overall very disappointing indeed.  The whole beer needs to be bolder, especially to be labeled as a brown (or known as a good one).  The was some good promise in the aroma, but it turned out to be more of a let-down when actually discovering the flavor.

Total 27/50 (Good)
For a beer that is labeled as such, it is anything but, "Burly."  It seems to lighten the best parts of a brown ale every chance it gets.  Perhaps this beer is one of many that loses its way when a brewery grows in size and enjoys the recent spat of success that Point Brewery is currently riding.  It seems light in flavor and more designed for the masses than those who enjoy a quality beer.  For the money, there are certainly more robust brown ales to be had out there.

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