Tailgate Throwdown: Nut Brown Ales, W&M vs. UVa – 9/19/15

Posted by  Alex Hannagan   in  Events     3 years ago     1167 Views     Comments Off on Tailgate Throwdown: Nut Brown Ales, W&M vs. UVa – 9/19/15  

This may not be the best season to be a UVa football fan.  Sure, we’ve been spoiled by national championships over the last year in Soccer, Tennis, and Baseball (and the overall men’s national championship per the Capitol One Cup), but this success has largely come at the expense of the football program.  The supposed strength of the team, its defense, has been [insert porous analogy here].  The offense’s reliance on a “power running game” is stuck in 1980 except, you know, when they let our QB improvise and move the pocket a bit.  But this was supposed to be our tune-up game before hosting Boise St. next Friday night.  It was also Family Day, so I brought the babies along so the rest of Camp Wahoo could gush over them while we focused on a creative idea by Hamilton for this week’s throwdown.  Originally, I made the obvious connection that given William & Mary’s colonial influence we should focus on IPAs but then Hamilton did a mental backhand at my lack of creativity and nominated English/Nut Brown Ales.  While initially skeptical, some quick research found an absolute wealth of Nut Browns available both within the Commonwealth and across the region.

WM hat 2
Tailgate Throwdown:  W&M vs. UVa, September 19, 2015
Featured Style:  English/Nut Brown Ales
Featured Beers (7):  Abita Turbodog, Bluegrass Brewing Nut Brown, DuClaw Euforia, St. George Nut Brown, AleWerks Old Stitch, Legend Brown, Lickinghole Creek Fearnought
Tasters:  7

It being Family Day, things were a bit disjointed at Camp Wahoo so we again did not feature a food pairing.  There were some brats and hot dogs floating around (as well as some quite interesting locally sourced sriracha ketchup) but without the usual potluck style gathering we decided to save the food for next week.

WM lineup

Beer 1:  Abita Turbodog
Style: 
Nut Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“toffee” “nutty aroma” “silky” “no bitterness, but drinkable for the IPA crowd”
Overall: 
A solid start to this lineup, with a classic national exemplar of the style.  While it’s not incredibly flavorful, Turbodog is well-balanced and versatile enough to surprise a hops snob who grudgingly wanted to sip some free beer.  A good crowd pleaser.
Score: 
7 of 10

Beer 2:  Bluegrass Brewing Nut Brown Ale
Style: 
Nut Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“smells like a porta potty” “licorice” “very mellow”
Overall: 
Whereas our first beer was a crowd pleaser, the unknown Bluegrass entry drew mixed reactions.  We’re not sure if the beer hadn’t survived in the bottle but even then two of the tasters rated this brew very highly (and one walked away with our spare bottle when all was said and done).
Score: 
5 of 10

Beer 3:  DuClaw Euforia
Style: 
Toffee Nut Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“toffee” “scary if you’re gluten intolerant”
Overall: 
The only beer of the day to feature any sort of hop profile or flavor, we actually had one of several gluten free Camp Wahoo attendees ask for a sip.  She on the one hand cursed her body’s hatred of gluten, and on the other finished her taster anyways.  A bit too sweet for most of the tasters.
Score: 
6 of 10

WM hammy

Beer 4:  St. George Nut Brown Ale
Style: 
Nut Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“more like chestnuts” “malty” “clean finish”
Overall: 
Another well-balanced Brown, the St. George drew the best marks for its lack of any cloying flavors following the previous samples.  Solid but not spectacular.
Score: 
7 of 10

Beer 5:  AleWerks Old Stitch
Style: 
Historical Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“rich malts” “caramel” “smoky”
Overall: 
AleWerks advertises Old Stitch as a “historical” beer as part of their Colonial Williamsburg line.  Brewed from Colonial-era recipes with some authentic ingredient, this beer drew some audible reactions from a good majority of the tasters.  I appreciated the unfiltered treatment as the malt backbone trended more towards sweet caramel than earthy nuttiness.
Score: 
8 of 10

WM hat

Beer 6:  Legend Brown Ale
Style: 
English Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“honey butter” “brown sugar”
Overall: 
A favorite for the VBR crew which has graced our bachelor parties and wedding bars.  The Legend Brown has a unique flavor profile that feels achingly authentic to this style.  No detractors, but we may have been spoiled by the rich flavors of its immediate predecessor in the lineup.  
Score: 
7.25 of 10

Beer 7:  Lickinghole Creek Fearnought
Style: 
Imperial Brown Ale
Tasting Notes: 
“bourbon”
Overall: 
A bourbon barrel aged behemoth at 10.5%, this was a bit too much of that flavor and not really a whole lot else.  It was decent and certainly drinkable but we didn’t exactly have any volunteers to take on the remainder of the bottle.
Score: 
6 of 10

Apropos to the theme of the throwdown and the opponent, the good lads from Williamsburg emerged as clear winners.  UVa, however, struggled with their lower-tier opponent.  We gave out plenty of swag at the tailgate, and then the ‘Hoos turned around and gave W&M every chance to win before escaping following a last second 4th down stop on defense.  With the babies in tow we didn’t witness the entire debacle, but it certainly looks as if the Tailgate Throwdown will be the highlight of our season…

Overall Winner:  AleWerks Old Stitch

WM view

About  

Former founder and writer for LambethField.com, now Co-Founder and writer for Virginia Brew Review. Life is too short to drink bad beer, but just long enough to write about it.