Brown ales are underrated. There’s something about how roasty malt flavors pop in a well executed brown ale. While brewers continue to push the envelope to create the ultimate hop bomb, Port Brewing has quietly gone in the other direction to create the an awesome roast bomb with their Board Meeting Imperial Brown Ale.
True, this is no simple brown ale. They’ve amped up the roastiness factor with coffee from San Diego’s Ryan Brothers coffee roasters and cocoa nibs from San Francisco chocolate maker TCHO.
The result is a rich, roasty, very lightly sweet brew with a lot of depth and complexity. The flavors slowly evolve over time with each sip, with the cocoa nibs seeming to dominate at first, giving way to the coffee at the finish.
Kind of ironic a brewery known for hop bombs like Mongo Double IPA, Wipeout IPA, and Hop-15 succeeds big time going the malt direction, don’t you think? It’s a new beer to Port Brewing’s year round line-up they introduced just last February. As Port Brewing director of brewery operations Tomme Arthur put it in a press release, “Interestingly, we’ve never produced a brown ale, so Board Meeting seemed a natural fit in our portfolio. ”
Looks like I’ve found my “go to” beer whenever I need a brown ale fix in a big way.
For this personally hectic month of March which, you may have noticed, led to this blog being a bit neglected, I anoint a collaboration brew between Green Flash, Port Brewing, and Stone Brewing called Highway 78 as Beer of the Month. For those of you who don’t know your way around San Diego, Highway 78 runs nearby all three breweries. I discovered this Scotch Ale during my travels to Hollywood earlier this month, a trip that seems like last year.
I found it rather ironic that three breweries who have made most of their reputations shovelling lots of hops into their brew kettles have come together to make a really smooth Scotch Ale with no hop character to speak of. I found the rich, savory, umami flavors dominating with some sweet molasses and smokey undertones rounding it out. There’s nothing arresting or hitting you over the head, just a lot of easy drinking flavorful malt goodness. Since brewery collaborations tend to produce rather extreme beers which at time have gone a bit over the top for my taste, I was surprised to find this such a smooth, easy sipping relaxing brew from a collaboration one would least likely expect.
It’s been a crazy month for work and family matters. Thank goodness for beers like Highway 78 that provide a respite from the chaos.