Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown
I was never much of a breakfast eater growing up, and I still don’t care for large, traditional breakfasts, since, frankly, I rarely want to eat a tremendous amount of food as soon as I wake up. This includes pancakes and waffles, and, hell, I’ll throw in crepes and really anything you may put maple syrup on. It’s not that I don’t like all breakfast food, just those bread things. Give me eggs and hash browns any day, so long as it’s after one o’clock in the afternoon.
I’m not positive why I don’t like them, but it may have to do with their topping of choice: maple syrup. Maybe it’s the combination of the two. Regardless, I don’t have syrup much. So when I saw the Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale, made with real maple syrup, I had my doubts. Every bad memory of forcing down bad pancakes at camp or rock-hard waffles at a church brunch came flooding back to me.
But in the darkness shown a dark, deep red light. Upon moving the glass away from the lamp, I could properly see the rich color of the ale, being a deep reddish brown, almost like freshly dug clay, intermingled with rust from your old Radio Flyer wagon. The ale doesn’t have much carbonation to see, and the head disappeared in seconds, but it still tickles your nose and throat like champagne.
The real adventure of the beer begins and ends with the flavor. You can marvel at the color and consistency of the beer for as long as you want (and sort of enjoy it for quite some time), but, I promise, after drinking it, you will be in a better mood.
Like most nut browns, the Maple blankets your tongue in a rich, flavorful quilt, which it promptly wraps itself in and sits, warming itself by the crackling fire. The ale was very full in my mouth, almost as if I could chew it if I wanted. Initially, the crisp sweetness of the maple syrup cut through everything else, but as it mellowed out at the beginning of the finish, more flavors emerged in a very smooth way. The entire experience, from sip to sip, was very creamy and velvety, which made the beer a very comfortable one. There was a little bitterness to speak of, which added a little punch towards the back of the mouth, and each drink made my mouth water, allowing me to pause and enjoy it, rather than try to satiate my thirst.
And in this pause, happy little flavors dance around your tongue, which is still wrapped up in the flavor-blanket I mentioned before. This is very much a nut brown ale, with caramel, roasted cashews and pecans, and vanilla joining the party.
However, to ensure that these flavors get invited (am I using too many metaphors?), you need to let the beer warm up a few crucial degrees. If you, like I did, drink the beer directly out of the fridge, the beer is rich, but not that deep. Lots of flavors, including the important maple, fails to show up, along with a few of the better ones in the finish. At first, it was just an average nut brown, but those few degrees bring out a lot of the flavors otherwise missed, which gives added treats for those who enjoy taking their time and sipping their beer (like a certain dashing fellow writing this post).
Although I don’t care for maple syrup, I thoroughly enjoyed the Tommyknocker Maple. It’s rich, complex, and very enjoyable. Maybe if I tried some pancakes with this on the side, I may enjoy the breakfast staple a little more. The first breakfast beer? I’ve seen crazier things…