Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale
I feel like my life has been a bunch of firsts ever since I started tasting and reviewing beer. I guess I figured by this point in my reviewing, almost 30 beers later, I should have covered most of the different kinds. Alas, it seems my reviewing will forever be a long line of firsts as no two beers are created equal, especially in the microbrew/craft beer world. And thank goodness for that!
Living in Arizona definitely has its perks. Not counting great weather all year-round (even the monsoons are awesome), gorgeous scenery (who doesn’t like mountains or canyons?), and breath-taking sunsets, the craft beers here do not disappoint. They are so easy to enjoy any time of the day and are always a welcome palette cleanser while enjoying a delicious organic local meal on the patio of one of the many non-chain restaurants in seasons that only affect the northern states. Beer and Arizona were made for each other.
Oak Creek Brewing Company, while based out of mountainous Sedona and thus having to deal with snow a few months out of the year, does very well in the craft community. I haven’t tasted a beer of theirs yet that I haven’t enjoyed (I promise to revisit the Amber though, that was a long night). Their Nut Brown Ale is no different. From the bottle, it pours a medium brown color with a coppery glow in the light. It is quite clear with no hazing, tiny bubbles that quickly build a half-finger thick head of off-white foam that dissipates just as quickly, and leaves minimal clean spotty lacing as it recedes.
It has a different aroma than I’m used to, and fits the autumn bill very well. There are hints of candied hazelnuts, a very light touch of chocolate, gently roasted malts and sweet caramel. Everything is followed up by the slightest bit of warmed brown sugar. The Nut Brown reminds me of the week before Christmas, when the house is a continual rotation of smells of sugary treats, pies, and just lots of down home cooking. Sounds of families mingling and laughing, compromising personal space to appreciate the one time a year everyone seems to get along…and this beer there to help it all go smoothly.
Speaking of smooth, though the initial tastes came across almost spicy and thick with carbonation on impact with my tongue, it quickly turned thin before I swallowed. The medium carbonation with a thin mouthfeel seem to make this beer a little more watery, but it’s all rounded out with the taste. It presents a tangy nuttiness with sweetly toasted malts, a hint of chocolate again, and something buttery. There are virtually no hops present and therefore it lacks a certain bitterness I’ve come to love about beer.
Although both the smell and the taste are quite faint and lacking robustness in comparison to most of the other beers I’ve tried, this ale is really very quaffable and distinct in its own sweet nuttiness. Holding no aftertaste whatsoever, this is a great drink to have regardless of the situation, unless of course you’re looking for something a little more interesting. This is just a simple beer with a simple taste and mouthfeel; average, if you will. It is very reminiscent of everything that comes from the earth and can hold its own, but I feel like there may be a stronger nut brown out there that I’m sure will give my senses more to work with.