There is a lot for the Virginia Brew Review Crew to be thankful for this year. We had a very successful website conversion to our new format. We are rapidly growing our other media markets like Twitter and Instagram. But more importantly, we get to meet a lot of different people, from the beer professionals, to the distributors, to the everyday people like us that just love Virginia Beer. For that, we thank you all.
In trying to decide what beer to review going into the holiday season, this one kinda fell into our laps. I had heard about this one for several weeks now, but I was a little hesitant at first. Not because I did not think this would be a quality beer, but when your beer name leads off with ‘maple’ most of the time, you start lining up your insulin shots. Interestingly enough by the end of the tasting, I was pleasantly surprised.
Debut #5: Maple Brown Ale, Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, VA)
English Brown Ale, ABV%: 6.1
Presentation: Tap pour into short goblet glass.
Appearance: Very dark brown with opaqueness tan brown sides and top. Head was lighter tan and did not sit long before lacing the sides.
Aroma: There is no doubting that this will have a maple flavor to it. Very strong maple aroma mixed in with roasted/toasted malts. Some caramel notes as well.
Taste: Here’s where it get interesting. You get a heavy dose of maple/caramel on the front end, but it is not overly sugary. In fact it about as clean of a maple flavor as you will find. It reminded me of pure syrup straight from the tree not boiled down and thickened. It is not to say it did not finish malty and slightly sweet, but nothing over and above what I have had before.
ABV/IBU Mouthfeel: Medium to medium light, slightly lighter than what you would find with a straight up EBA. Malts and flavor hide most of the ABV and IBU there pretty much for balance. Mouthfeel is very slightly sweet, but not by much, finishes with that traditional English malt flavor.
Overall: So much to really enjoy about this beer. It is great for a variety of settings. The EBA base pairs well with traditional Thanksgiving fare without being overly sweet, but works with pie/dessert/brunch without being lost in the sugary foods. This is a debut series and has a limited run, but distribution is pretty solid on this and should be able to track this down on tap pretty much anywhere in the state. If you do, I would recommend bringing your own turkey and fixins with you. Have a great Thanksgiving y’all!