Why Brown is the new Pale

Brown AleIt doesn’t sound sexy. It’s hardly known as a fashionable style. But believe it or not the Brown Ale is totally in vogue right now in the Australian craft beer scene.

The NZ Beervana champion brewers 8 Wired summed up the Brown Ale’s less-than-stellar reputation brilliantly in the copy for their Rewired Brown Ale.

“Poor old misunderstood brown ale… It is perhaps the most versatile style of beer in the world, but is often overlooked. Why? Does the word brown lead the mind towards less appetizing things? Is it because the colour brown is less sexy than, say, ‘golden’?”

But 8 Wired’s version of this style along with other Brown Ales from local Aussie brewers are redefining the brown ale and putting it back on the discerning beer drinker’s mind.

In particular, some of the newer microbreweries on the scene are featuring Brown Ales as part of their repertoire. The likes of Hix, Cavalier and Mornington Peninsula are producing brown ales that have been greeted enthusiastically by drinkers and are currently available in bottles, on growler and on taps around town.

What is behind this Brown resurgence? I can only credit it to the appetite of beer drinkers to try new styles of beer. While the Pale Ale has been the undisputed leader for the Australian craft beer movement for some time, giving drinkers beer with flavour while still being ‘smashable’, it has also been done to death. So it’s great to see new brewers carving out their own flavour territory with the less-heralded Brown Ale.

Brown Ales are certainly a diverse bunch of beers too. The English-style Brown Ales like the Mornington Peninsula and Holgate beers present caramel, toffee and nut flavours. While the American-style Brown Ales of the likes of Murrays and 8 Wired are more hop-forward beers that are bursting with flavour. Then there’s Hix’s smooth but richly flavoured brown ale, which is another standout.

With all of these great beers, the word Brown may soon begin to conjure better image associations, for the beer drinker anyway!

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